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October 24, 2008

An Essential Art Reading List from BOYD LEVEL Art Consulting

MAO hosted a lecture and collection visit last night with The Contemporaries.

Aside from all the occasional recession gallows humor, the night was extremely up beat with lots of enthusiasm for collecting Contemporary art.

Yes.. My little MAO-ettes, some crazy obsessive art addicted people are indeed looking at this great art crash of 2008 "slow down" as an opportunity to Collect Art!!

So, we were also fortunate enough to have a visionary presentation by 2 of the art world's most thoughtful consultants.. M. Franklin Boyd, and Jonathan T. D. Neil. Of BOYD LEVEL Art Consulting. You guys Rock!


One of the most interesting parts of their presentation was a list of readings, as Jonathan described:


Some Essential Histories of the Present:

       A highly selective and perhaps arbitrary list of articles, books, and collected writing that are nonetheless essential to understanding the trajectory and claims of much contemporary art.  These are by no means easy reads, but if studied, they will render a deeper understanding of contemporary art then any broad survey.


  1. Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics (1998)

  2. Douglas Crimp, “Pictures” (1979)

  3. Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings, ed Flam (1996)

  4. David Joselit, Feedback: Television Against Democracy (2007)

  5. Donald Judd, “Specific Objects” (1965)

  6. Rosalind Krauss, A Voyage on the North Sea (1999)

  7. Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another (2004)

  8. Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily (1993)

  9. Seth Price, "Dispersion" (2002)

A Big MAO Thank You goes out to both, Franklyn and Jonathan for being so candid with their thoughts and advise to The Contemporaries group, you guys are the best!!

P.S. We all particularly liked that part about reading the MAO blog every week...but then again maybe you were just pandering a bit preaching to the choir...


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I've read all of the essays mentioned since I went to Art Center's theory based MFA program.

What I am looking for is the writing that addresses why painting and narrative have returned to the forefront of art, after artists have been schooled for a few decades on cool conceptual art, which said that painting was not alive, photography was the new means of representation, fabrication over handskill is what makes art, and narratives had been "emptied out" and abandonned.

thanks for the list!


thanks for the list!


thanks for the list!


great list!


"hese are by no means easy reads,"

masters of understatement, those BL folks. ;-)

Thanks for the list. I also checked out their website and they are amazing consultants! Would you be interested in a link exchange to my blog and/or my gallery?

Just came across this post - it's a bit weird to me. As if nothing written before 1965 would be considered a 'top ten' book for an in depth, thorough understanding of 'contemporary' art and aesthetics. All art was 'contemporary' at some time, and the (good) writing of the day opens an important window of thought in the development of contemporary art. Before any of these ten listed above, I would recommend Malraux's "The Voices of Silence." Certainly the single greatest book written on how to look and think about art and aesthetics in the 20th Century, and just as trenchant now as the time at which it was originally written.

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