Summer books 2021: Visual arts


The art museum in modern times
by Charles Saumarez Smith, Thames and Hudson £ 30

Saumarez Smith has run the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Royal Academy, and it seems there is hardly a museum in the world that he has not visited. As an architectural historian and cultural commentator, he is convincing, charming, tolerant and wise about the importance of museums, the evolution of their role and what this reveals about more social and political transformation. large.

Spring cannot be canceled: David Hockney in Normandy
by Martin Gayford, Thames and Hudson £ 25

Last year, Hockney’s daffodil painting “Remember They Can’t Cancel Spring” made the headlines around the world. Gayford records what the artist saw, thought, read, recalled, during the lockdown in his French cottage, as reported by email and phone; their conversations read easily and with optimism, covering nature, food, art, opera, fairy tales.

The house of fragile things: Jewish art collectors and the fall of France
by James McAuley, Yale £ 25 / $ 30

Behind rococo fantasies and end of century The extravagance of the Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris unfolds in captivating and desperate tales of paintings stained with blood, of riches blind to danger, of collectors controlling their art as they could not control their lives, in a France darkening prejudice and fear.

Tell us what you think

What are your favorites from this list – and which books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

How photography became a contemporary art: Inside an artistic revolution of pop in the digital age
by Andy Grundberg, £ 30

In 1960, photography was the outsider knocking on the door of the art world. Today, “the whole universe of the image is an artist’s subject” and images have “indeed replaced reality as we once knew it”. Grundberg, a former New York Times photographic critic, is an immensely lively and engaging columnist on this change of epoch.

Black White
edited by Sylvie Aubenas, Héloïse Conesa, Flora Triebel, Dominique Versavel, BNF editions 45 €

It should have accompanied a grand show at the Grand Palais canceled due to the pandemic, but appeared online; it is an exquisite recording of a century of black and white photographs, chosen for beauty, formal brilliance, idiosyncrasy, period flair, sense of place. The text (in French) is minimal. Almost every picture brings joy.

Summer books 2021

All week FT writers and critics are sharing their favorites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Undertaken by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Wednesday: Story by Tony Barber
Thusday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Friday: Laura Battle Fiction
On Saturday: Critics’ Choice

Join our online reading group on Facebook at FT Books Coffee


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