Frank, R. (1963). Zero Mostel reads a book. New York: New York Times.

The Museum of Modern Art Library is frequented by artists who use the collection for research and inspiration. For this exhibition, a number of artists were asked to select a favorite item from the library collection and respond to a questionnaire written by library staff. Reading List includes the selected materials, accompanied by the artists’ explanations of why they chose the materials and what they mean within the context of their artistic practices. Selections will rotate halfway through the exhibition’s duration in order to feature a wide range of artists.

This exhibition is organized by Rachael Morrison, Senior Library Assistant, and Lori Salmon, Library Assistant, MoMA Library.


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Acker, K. (1974). I dreamt I became a nymphomaniac!: Imagining. San Francisco: Musicmusic Corp.

-- Johanna Fateman


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Avalanche (New York, N.Y.). (1970). New York: Center for New Art Activities [etc.].

The collection of Avalanche Magazines produced, curated, and written by Willoughby Sharp and Liza Bear in the early 70s. Twelve years ago I discovered this collection accidentally in a box of discarded art magazines and was struck by the format as being a direct conduit to the artist’s process. Through the stewardship of the two editors, the artist interviews are smart, forward thinking, and showcased the NY Soho art world as a community of ideas that were far-reaching and global.

-- Michelle Lopez

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Ball, H. (1974). Flight out of time: A Dada diary. New York: Viking Press.

-- Daniel Joseph Martinez


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Bellmer, H., & Taylor, S. (2000). Hans Bellmer: The anatomy of anxiety. Cambridge [et al.: Mit Press.

I like all of the books on Hans Bellmer and this one in particular because it adds words to these mysterious images.In my films I explore ideas about politics and social culture through an improvisation of stop-motion animated dolls and this is why I find the book interesting and specifically this book- to gain further insight into Bellmer's personal and political motivations when photographing his dolls.

-- Martha Colburn

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Brainard, J. (1970). I remember. New York: Angel Hair Books.

-- Jason Polan


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Cage, J. (1961). Silence: Lectures and writings. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press.

Silence, John Cage. Read and see.  

-- Katy Grannan

 

What is your favorite art book?

Silence by John Cage

-- Stephen Vitielllo

John Cage, Silence

-- Martha Wilson

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Clowes, D. (2000). David Boring. New York: Pantheon Books.

he thinks film. yet he's into the hand, character and story. he has an odd, ineffable tone when he's good. he treats realism as a form not prescription.

-- William Pope.L


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Bataille, G. (1929). Documents. Paris: s.n..

-- Rob Wynne


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Dermisache, M., & Schraenen, G. (1975). Diario No. 1: Año 1. Antwerpen, Belgique: Guy Schraenen.

Mirtha Dermisache, Diario No. 1: ano 1 was published in Argentina in 1972, during the years when people were being “disappeared” by the government. It is a tabloid publication which appears to be covered with meaningless gibberish, or perhaps graffiti or calligraphy practice. It made it past the censors because they did not understand that Mirtha was drawing a portrait of the nonsense that passed for news in government-controlled newspapers. Consequently, this work stands as a visual protest of Argentina’s oppressive political regime.

-- Martha Wilson

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Éditions Le terrain vague. (1962). Midi-minuit fantastique. Paris: Éditions du terrain vague.

Eric Losfeld was a publisher who had a reputation for publishing controversial material on his publishing imprint Le Terrain Vague. He published everything from Pierre Klossowski's Living Currency to the book Emmanuelle as well as books by Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Luis Bunuel and Ado Kyrou. He was also the publisher of the french film magazines Midi Minuit Fantastique and Positif.

I have a collection of different books on his imprint including the film journal, Midi Minuit Fantastique (1962-1971), which I found bound in the MOMA library. Midi Minuit Fantastique was dedicated to fantastique, horror and science fiction films of the 60's. In a way it was a precursor to the french magazine Metal Hurlant, which became Heavy Metal Magazine in the U.S.

-- Aida Ruilova


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Eisenman, N., Ruf, B., & Kunsthalle Zurich. (2011). Nicole Eisenman. Zurich: JRP/Ringier.

-- Eileen Myles


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Feldmann, H.-P. (2008). Album. Koln: Walther Konig.

-- Aleksandra Mir

What is the first book you read that was influential to you?

Frank, R., & Kerouac, J. (1959). The Americans. New York: Pantheon Books.

McLuhan, M., & Fiore, Q. (1967). The medium is the massage. New York: Random House.

I think it was Robert Frank’s Americans. My teacher and friend at UC Riverside, Uta Barth, told me to look at it. I think she meant for me to look at the work - but I was looking at it as a book as well. And there was also Marshall McLuhan’s ‘The Medium is a Massage,’ looking at that book, and making zines in kinkos in the middle of night and then dropping the counter and saying i only made 10 copies, while walking out with 100 zines in my bag….

-- David Horvitz


What is your favorite art book?

Fukase, M., & Hasegawa, A. (1991). The solitude of ravens: A photographic narrative. San Francisco: Bedford Arts.

-- Alec Soth


What is your favorite art book title?

Fuller, R. B., Agel, J., & Fiore, Q. (1970). I seem to be a verb. New York: Bantam Books.

-- Sarah Rara

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Galassi, P., Storr, R., Umland, A., & Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). (2000). Making choices: 1929, 1939, 1948, 1955. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Because it raises crossings between modern art, photography, architecture design and cinema, reflecting his simultaneous evolution during specific moments in history, which has influenced us up to today.

-- Beatriz Leyton Covacic


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Guerrilla Art Action Group., Hendricks, J., & Toche, J. (1978). GAAG, the Guerrilla Art Action Group, 1969-1976: A selection. New York: Printed Matter.

Why? - because Clive Phillpot snuck it in years ago and I always admired him for doing it.

-- Jon Hendricks


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Hurst, M., & Swope, R. (2005). Casa Susanna. New York: PowerHouse Books.

-- Carter

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Inches, A., & Henson, J. (2001). Jim Henson's designs and doodles: A muppet sketchbook.

Muppets, Monster & [und] Magie: Die Welt von Jim Henson. (1987). Frankfurt am Main: Dt. Filmmuseum.

Henson, Jim -- Criticism and interpretation.
Henson, Jim -- Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
I've always been interested in the power of speaking through Avatars and how Henson was able to create an appropriated world within popular culture using characterization.

-- Derrick Adams


What books, magazines, or art ephemera do you keep in the space where you work?

Koolhaus, Rem. Delirioius New York.

Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
Five Points by Tyler Anbinder
Manhattan's Chinatown by Daniel Ostrow
Fabian Marcaccio: Paintant Stories
Greg Bogin: From Here to Here
Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting
Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York
Low Life by Luc Sante

-- Wendy White


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Lartigue, J.-H. (1966). Boyhood photos. of J.-H. Lartigue: the family album of a gilded age. Lausanne: A. Guichard.

Terribly difficult to say. But the Lartigue photo book, of his childhood, is rapturous.

-- Maira Kalman

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Lippard, L. R. (1973). Six years: the dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972: A cross-reference book of information on some esthetic boundaries. New York: Praeger

This book marked an important transition in the function of art books and the development of the curator in relation to artists, artworks and people.

-- Liam Gillick


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

The Museum of Modern Art. (1984). 'Primitivism' in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern [Press release].

Reading this press release is like watching footage of the calm right before the storm. This document is full of a kind of potential energy. Perhaps palpable, only through hindsight. And the knowledge that the exhibition would soon be enveloped in fierce controversy and debate. The critiques of the amero-eurocentric bias of the exhibition and of western art history in general ended up provoking one of the most significant turns in the history of art in the US.

-- Jaret Vadera


What is your favorite art book?

Mookerjee, A. (1971). Tantra art: Its philosophy & physics. Basel: Ravi Kumar.

Tantra Asana by Ajit Mookerjee

-- Dorothy Ianonne

 

If you could only live with one art book what would it be?

Ajit Mookerjee, Tantra Art

-- Chitra Ganesh

Munari, B. (1951). [Libro illeggibile: No. 12.] S.l: s.n.

Iannone, D., & Roth, D. (1970). The story of Bern, [or] Showing colors. Dusseldorf: Dieter Rot [sic] and Dorothy Iannone.

Iannone, D. (1978). The Berlin beauties, oder, Du hast ja keine Ahnung wie schon du bist Berlin. Berlin: Mary Dorothy Verlag.

Iannone, D. (1973). Dorothy Iannone: danger in Dusseldorf (or) I am not what i seem. Stuttgart: Hansjorg Mayer.

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

1/ I like all Bruno Munari's Illegible Books. Laced with string, delicate papers, shapes die-cut, they operate as puzzles.
2/ I also like Dorothy Iannone's books: The Story of Bern & Showing Colors, Berlin Beauties, and Danger in Dusseldorf. Sexual, vibrantly colored, candid, fiction/nonfiction hybridity, strong woman presence, visually exciting.

-- Trinie Dalton


What books, magazines, or art ephemera do you keep in the space where you work?

Munari, B. (2007). Original xerographies. Mantova: Edizioni Corraini.

My workspace doubles as a studio and a small library, which can accommodate only a year’s worth of book collecting at any given time (the overflow goes into storage). However, there are some staples that stay in the studio at all times for inspiration . . . this stash includes: “Hollywood Babylon 2,” “Poems” by Aram Saroyan, anything by Charles Willeford or Richard Stark, loose issues of The National Enquirer, David W. Mauerer’s “Language of the Underworld”, “Everybody’s Pixillated” by Russel Arundel, “Original Xerographies” by Bruno Munari, a few photocopied articles by Edit DeAk from Art-Rite and Cover Magazine, the “Oulipo Compendium,” “Geisha This” by Destroy All Monsters and “Smoke” by Lutz Bacher.

-- James Hoff

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Paik, N. J., Rosebush, J., & Everson Museum of Art. (1974). Nam June Paik: videa 'n' videology, 1959-1973. Syracuse, N.Y: Everson Museum of Art.

I love Nam June’s writing and the chaotic yet appropriate scotch tape design style of the book.

-- Stephen Vitiello


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Pasolini, P. P., & Guilhon, P. (1976). Ecrits corsaires. Paris: Flammarion.

Pasolini's ideas were incredibly visionary. His critique of consumerism, outlined throughout this book, is not only very relevant but I would argue an essential reading these days. In many ways he predicted the violent and destructive aspects of what he described as the empire of consumerism and clearly saw our huge humanitarian and environmental crisis coming.

-- Yoshua Okon


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

It's a toss up between:
Perec, Georges. (n.d.). Artist file: Miscellaneous uncataloged material.
Because he is one of my favorite authors.
and
Paris, May 1968, posters of the student revolt. 1969 : Archives pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material.
because of the immediacy and directness of the posters.

-- Paul Ramirez Jonas

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Polk, B. (1972). Scars. Philadelphia: Telegraph Books.

-- John Waters


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Porter, B., & Something Else Press,. (1972). Found poems. Millerton, N.Y: Something Else Press.

Found Poems by Bern Porter. It manages to accomplish the rarely achieved task of being both conceptually compelling and viscerally poetic at the same time. It relies on a deceptively simple conceit, but give it a little time and watch the poems begin to stretch out past the horizon.

-- Andrew Beccone

What is your favorite art book?

Bern Porter Found Poems

-- Erica Baum


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Porter, B., & Transformer, T. (1985). Horizontal hold. S.l: s.n..

One of my favorites was a mail art zine collaboration between Bern Porter and a younger artist who calls himself, Todd Transformer. It's called Horizontal Hold: A Satire on Television (1985). Porter actually helped invent the television but never owned one! It expresses a very DIY punk nature that independent publishing has against the mainstream which is not only important to me but to all of us who self-publish and is still very relevant today. The title is thus really important - we have a steady holdout against the corporate mainstream media. This particular zine is visually very powerful and has a keen sense of humor with it's biting critique of advertising and the entertainment industry. It was a real treat and surprise to find this zine in the collection of MoMA. I hadn't seen it before or knew that Bern was so open to collaborating with younger artists through the mail - even though I knew that he was the self-proclaimed inventor of mail art so it makes perfect sense. I love all of Bern's books - it was hard to choose one but this book is very exciting to me and I love it's anti-establishment attitude and collaboration is also very important to me. At the time of printing neither of the artist had met before in person.

-- Scott Hug

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Powell, Richard. J. To Conserve a Legacy: American art from historically Black colleges and universities

To Conserve a Legacy : American art from historically Black Colleges and Universities . We are really interested in archives, databases and the basements of institutions. We really love this idea of this book,a statement about archives, in the archive. Spearheaded by art historian Rick Powell with museum director Jock Reynolds, this book documents a large effort to restore and exhibit the incredible collections held by HBCU museums. The project says so much about the kinds of amazing pieces that are all over the country and how easy it is to loose sight of really groundbreaking works/ideas. Keith worked briefly as an exhibition coordinator for one phase of the project long after the book was completed and the restoration work was done. It was a seminal experience for us. The book and documents from this exhibition are still such a great resource.

-- Mendi + Keith Obadike


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Ruscha, E. (1966). Every building on the Sunset Strip. Los Angeles: s.n..

This deadpan conceptualist cinéma vérité photo-documentary approach is very inspiring.

-- Erica Baum


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Schwitters, K., Schwitters, E., Granville, P., Schwitters, K., & Lord's Gallery. (1958). An Anna Blume: To Eva Blossom = A Anna Lafleur ; Die Sonate in Urlauten = Sonata in primeval sounds = Sonate présyllabique. S.l: s.n.

I love this because I had only ever heard the MP3 version and I had never seen the actual LP. However, this is a visually aesthetic choice since if I wanted to listen to it, I'd have to go to the MoMA Library and listen to it there instead of listening to it on my iPhone when I'm out in the world. And, given the choice, I'd rather listen to something in the midst of my life rather than have to go to a museum in order to hear it. By extension, I'd rather have the crummy sounding version than the good sounding one (if you close your eyes, it sounds the same).

If you are reading this text whilst at the exhibition, you won't be able to hear it either. In order to do so, you'd have to make an appointment to come out to MoMA Queens and listen to it there. You really should hear this piece, though. It's magnificent. In fact, you can hear it on UbuWeb right now: http://ubu.com/sound/schwitters.html Listen while you're looking and you'll get the best of both worlds.

-- Kenneth Goldsmith

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Smithson, R., & Flam, J. D. (1996). Robert Smithson, the collected writings. Berkeley: University of California Press.

It is endlessly fascinating.

-- Byron Kim


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Themerson, S. (1958). Kurt Schwitters in England. London: Gaberbocchus.

The main reason is that the reasons intersect. I discovered this book and unknown to each other for years found that a dear friend, Brad Sanders, also had it - but we had never talked about it for nearly a decade. I remembered having a conversation with Matthew Higgs about the Themerson's press, Gabberbochus, and thought so many times since how it made absolutely perfect sense he would have interested in that particular press. The more I got to know him, very slowly, the more it made sense to me why he would have been interested in those books at one point. I found out recently that the conversation I remembered had never happened. The design of the book is so many years ahead of its time - it could have been designed yesterday except it is still too elegant for that. Brad Sanders went off to find the Merzbarn in Ambleside which was completely understated and without fanfare or documentation. He met the gatekeeper by chance who later hid the key for him so he could do a photo-shoot for the last LP sleeve he designed. In Themerson's inimitable style, the book says so much of the depth of the friendship between Themerson and Schwitters - in such a beautiful and unspoken way. File next to The Fall Lyrics, Mark E. Smith, The Lough Press.

-- Rick Myers


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Torres-García, J., & Asociación de Arte Constructivo (Montevideo, Uruguay). (1939). Metafísica de la prehistoria indoamericana. Montevideo: Asociación de Arte Constructivo.

Torrres Garcia's writing is an investigation of meaning in native south american symbolism and its relation to constructivism as a contemporary artist in 1939. The links he attempts to make are relevant in imagining a conversation between past and present.

-- Ronny Quevedo

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Tuttle, Richard, Richard Tuttle : memento : center / [textos, José A. Bragança de Miranda, Susan Harris, Eduardo Lago, David Platzker]

-- Arturo Herrera


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Warhol, A., Shore, S., Finkelstein, N., & Name, B. (1967). Andy Warhol's index (book). New York: Random House.

This book came out when I was in college at U. C. Santa Barbara in 1967 (I later transferred to U.C. Berkeley). It was a very exciting thing for me and some other artist friends who had grown up in Santa Barbara. It so perfectly represented the creative exuberance of the sixties. It was a book that was barely a book; it had turned into a sculptural object. I remember that one of the things that delighted me about it was how weird it was. The juxtaposition of the black and white with the color is surprising, and of course the shiny silver cover is fantastic. I remember how puzzled I was by the pop-up elements, and they remained memorable to me over the years.

An added aspect to the book is that photos of Edie Sedgwick appear in it. Edie was a friend of my sister. Around that time my sister had a dinner party that she arranged, partly so that I could ask Edie about Andy Warhol. Given when that dinner occurred in the arc of Edie’s life, I remember the evening as being both fascinating and sad.

-- B. Wurtz


What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Wojnarowicz, D., & Romberger, J. (1996). Seven miles a second. New York: DC Comics.

Yokoo, T., & Friedman, M. L. (2001). Selected posters 116. Osaka-shi, Japan: Amus Art Press.


I love the intersections of image and text, sometimes narrative and other times disjunctive, that thrive in both these books. I'm drawn to the graphic turn of hand, alongside explorations of sexuality, the macabre emerge in between the pages. I've always been curious about which categories (formal & conceptual) dominate as a means to classify, canonize, and determine what constitutes contemporary art. And how print culture, design, street art, sexually explicit images, and storytelling may figure within these hierarchies of classification.

-- Chitra Ganesh

What is your favorite item in the MoMA Library Collection? Why?

Wye, D., & Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). (1988). Committed to print: Social and political themes in recent American printed art. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

I choose this title because it catalogues a show held at MoMA of explicitly political work. The show was certainly a result of the years of pressure by artists and groups dedicated to changing the museum. This book and the show to which it is dedicated pose questions for me, do artists put enough pressure on museums, do they need to? Certainly there is just as much work of an explicitly political nature done today, could MoMA do a show like Committed to Print now? Was it a show relevant for the time but now we need something different?

-- Sam Durant


Acknowlegdments

We would like to thank all of the artists who participated in this exhibition. Many thanks to Milan Hughston and MoMA Library staff, Chiara Bernasconi, Dorothy Geehern, Rebecca Roberts, Julianna Goodman, Jessica Natoli, and Laura Beiles. We would also like to thank Fabienne Stephan, Simon Preston, Paula Naughton, and Carmen Hammons for all of their help.