Best books about certain contemporary female artists?
March 20, 2013 3:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for the very best books to get about certain female contemporary artists. I can't spend a lot of money and buy tons, so just one or two about each artist is plenty. Here is a list of artists I currently really like and am seeking recs for, but please feel free to add any other awesome contemporary female artists. I'm looking for books that have biographical information as well as info about their work. -Jenny Holzer -Louise Bourgeois -Tracey Emin (I have the Tate book and Strangeland already) -Yayoi Kusama (I know about Infinity Net) -Judy Chicago -Nan Goldin -Francesca Woodman -Cindy Sherman
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, and I do know about Barbara Krueger and Sherrie Levine.
posted by mermaidcafe at 3:40 AM on March 20, 2013

I'd like to add Doris Salcedo to your list - this book provides a good introduction to her practice.
posted by Chairboy at 4:07 AM on March 20, 2013

I don't know if you have access to Brooklyn, but Spoonbill and Sugartown is a small bookstore (and recently used as a location in Girls) that specializes in books about women artists. If you are having trouble finding something, you can contact them. Of course some hard to find artist books - Cady Noland's, for example, can get very expensive.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:25 AM on March 20, 2013

The Brooklyn Museum's
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Artist List
is a good resource too.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:33 AM on March 20, 2013

I should also mention ABE Books - where you can find out of print, used or rare books. For example the artist , Kara Walker searched on ABE: Kara Walker, and the bookseller Spoonbill and Sugartown.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:17 AM on March 20, 2013

Always a fan of Kiki Smith. Kiki Smith: A Gathering is a book put out by the Walker Art Center for a career retrospective they did of Smith in 2005 and has a good background of her life & work.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:07 AM on March 20, 2013

Are you in the US? You can get almost anything from any library through interlibrary loan - and then buy the ones you like the best!
posted by cilantro at 6:09 AM on March 20, 2013

I always like being the first one to scream LEONORA CARRINGTON whenever someone mentions female artists. That lady was so cool. This book doesn't really do justice to her entire oeuvre (i.e. not much about her prints nor the books she wrote), but there are a good number of paintings to stare at. And a lot of interesting biographical details, like how she met and seduced Max Ernst and his circle of surrealist art friends with her wit!

But for Louise Bourgeois, I know the perfect book but you should memail me. It's kind of my little secret because it's out of print so not many people have come across a physical copy. I was just lucky. That's what randomly perusing the stacks of the Mid Manhattan library gets you!
posted by hellomina at 6:52 AM on March 20, 2013

Thank you all for your suggestions! I'm learning a lot. I do love Abe Books. :) The library isn't an option for me right now, unfortunately.

Still looking for the best book(s) to get on some of the artists I mentioned:
-Jenny Holzer
-Louise Bourgeois
-Tracey Emin (I have the Tate book and Strangeland already)
-Yayoi Kusama (I know about Infinity Net)
-Nan Goldin
-Cindy Sherman

And Amazon led me to Hannah Wilke, who seems awesome, but there's only 2 books on her so far.
posted by mermaidcafe at 7:07 AM on March 20, 2013

I've been reading, and enjoying, Louise Bourgeois's Destruction of the Father/Reconstruction of the Father, which is a selection of her writings (letters, journals, etc.) and some interviews.

It might help if you have some indication of what you meant by "best," especially since you want to only get a couple on each artist. There are a ton of Cindy Sherman books, for example, but which one is best depends on what you want out of them—a good selection of her works? A good critical beginning? Interesting interviews?
posted by felix grundy at 10:09 AM on March 20, 2013

Carrie Moyer
Alice Neel
Laurie Simmons
Roni Horn
Ida Applebroog
Joan Snyder
Elizabeth Murray
Kara Walker
Catherine Opie
Carolee Schneemann
Nicole Eisenman
Catherine Murphy
Sue Williams
Mary Heilman
Maria Lassnig
Joan Mitchell
Pipilotti Rist
Lee Lozano
Eva Hesse
posted by R. Mutt at 10:10 AM on March 20, 2013

My favourite book by a contemporary female artist is Marian Bantjes I Wonder. It's gorgeous.
posted by looli at 1:46 PM on March 20, 2013

Seconding Abe Books or Alibris for otherwise super-expensive museum catalogs. Also, the documentary Women Art Revolution features interviews with feminist artists from the 70s-present, including several with Judy Chicago.
posted by quatsch at 2:56 PM on March 21, 2013

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