Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Top five summer beach-books for art lovers

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Who doesn’t love a smart summer page-turner, the kind of book you enjoy on the beach as you soak up a few craft-brewed ales? (Recommended.) MAN offers up five art beach-books for your summer enjoyment. None is as frothy as a Danielle Steel, but you wouldn’t be caught dead in the Hamptons or in Carmel toting such piffle, would you?

1.) Robert Hughes, Nothing If Not Critical. Smart, opinionated exhibition reviews from a time when NYC critics didn’t fawn over every NYC museum show they saw.

2.) Peter Robb, M, The Man Who Became Caravaggio. One of the most stylish, violent artist biographies out there. With this exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada (and on its way to the Kimbell), it’s also timely.

3.) Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master. One of the best artist biographies of the last decade. Two extra reasons to read it now: This upcoming retrospective at MoMA, an opportunity to double-up by reading Susan E. Lake’s superb study of de Kooning’s materials.

4.) Jonathan Lopez, The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren. This well-spun tale features Vermeers, fakes, Nazis, fakes, Vermeers and fakes. What more do you need?

5.) Aaron Elkins’ Chris Norgren art history mysteries, including A Deceptive Clarity,  A Glancing Light and Old Scores. A little bit of art, a little bit of European travel, a good bit of murder…

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  1. Robert Hughes is always worth a reread(s).

  2. Charlie Aldinger says:

    Check out Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty. It’s a sexy romp through NY art galleries. Perfect for beach reading. Illustrated, too.

  3. annette says:

    The Peter Robb Caravaggio biography is utterly awful. It should be sold as fiction– it’s totally out-of-date, but even when published, played with the facts willy-nilly, and created a totally skewed interpretation of the artist that has nothing to do with the art historical data. Try Helen Langdon’s excellent “Caravagguo: A Life” instead.

  4. katharine says:

    Just started Joan Mitchell lady Painter and really enjoying it.

  5. Tyler Green says:

    The Langdon is excellent reference material.

  6. […] you only read one list of summer beach books this year, make it this one from Tyler Green at Modern Art […]

  7. One of the best books on art I have ever read is by Lawrence Weschler, “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin” – I am now looking forward to more of Lawrence’s writings after also reading “Vermeer in Bosnia: Selected Writings”.

  8. I know this is an “under the radar” book, but it won’t be for long. You must pick up a copy of Dali Dreams of Gala by Eddy Barrows through Amazon and also on Kindle. Just published. Brilliant summer beach read…

  9. Sometimes the artist is also a detective. Murder in Mexico is my a series of eleven mysteries set in and around the expat colony of San Miguel de Allende. Artist Paul Zacher is drawn into crime investigation because ‘he might see things differently.’ Maybe it’s time for the humanity of Mexico to show through all the narco headlines! Take a look at this suspenseful and often funny series, available in Print, Kindle, Nook, & Kobo. Start with ‘Twenty Centavos’ by trying a sample on my website.


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