Help Me Find Original Source Artist Writings!
April 22, 2014 9:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for original source artists' writings. I'm talking diaries, manifestos, conversations about the creative process - Help me find books, magazines, websites or other good resources!

I'm also talking any historical period, but I've already read a bunch of good stuff from the early-to-mid twentieth century. I'm primarily interested in visual artists, but will take what comes my way.

Short of researching each individual artist I am interested in, are there some good resources for me to tap into? I've already looked at this thread, but I'm more interested in work coming straight from the horse's mouth. (For this purpose.)
posted by lady3bird to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Art Spirit by Robert Henri is a collection of notes that he would leave for his students after observing their work at the end of the day. The message speaks to me as a non-artist (but someone who has a deep appreciation for art). It contains information that can be applied to living life well, not just making art.
posted by agatha_magatha at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2014

Between Worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes, 1910-1930 is filled with endless (well, hundreds) of manifestos and discussions about just this topic.
posted by scody at 10:25 AM on April 22, 2014

Chuck Amuck, by Chuck Jones

It isn't exactly an autobiography, more like a memoir. The first part of it is about his childhood. The second part is about his time at Termite Terrace, and it spends a lot of time on the creative process that went into his cartoons. Given that they were a team effort, there's a lot of emphasis on team collaboration.

But there's also a lot of discussion of his own efforts. For instance, he talks about how in his early years as a director he spent a lot of time and effort trying to figure out what made the audience laugh, so he could do more of it. And, he says, the result of that effort was really dreadful. Apparently humor can't be that calculated.

So he gave up on it entirely, and started to make cartoons that made he himself laugh. And when he did, the audience laughed too.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:40 AM on April 22, 2014

You could fill a small library with art manifestos. The wikipedia page is a good place to start.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:06 AM on April 22, 2014

I read and enjoyed The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter a while back. (I assume this is a subset of Writings, which seems to now be less expensive and easier to acquire.)
posted by aparrish at 11:57 AM on April 22, 2014

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art by Peter Selz is a large anthology of original source writings by artists.
posted by effluvia at 8:40 PM on April 22, 2014

Mary Ann Caws edited an anthology of art manifestos a few years back.
posted by dizziest at 6:55 AM on April 23, 2014

You might like poking around Letters of Note - searching for "art" comes up with a lot of good stuff.

Along those lines, I really enjoy this letter from Sol Lewitt to Eva Hesse.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 1:29 PM on April 23, 2014

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