Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty Reading List

The ICA Bookshop has put together a brand new reading list to accompany the latest exhibition Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty.

ICA Bookshop

21 Oct 2013

The ICA Bookshop has put together a brand new reading list to accompany the latest exhibition Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty. All of the titles are available online or in our Bookshop on the Mall.

Aesthetics of Installation Art
Juliane Rebentisch


If you would like to buy me everything Sternberg Press has ever released I would forever be your humble servant. Until then, Juliane Rebentisch’s book would be terrific (thank you). Rebentisch sets out a rich theoretical foundation for contemporary installation art, covering a huge amount of ground including sound, cinematographic and theatrical installation. The focus is firmly on the philosophical with fresh readings on Adorno, Heidegger, Greenberg, Fried, Krauss and more.

Do You Love Me?
Lutz Bacher


If you really want to know about Lutz Bacher you should ask her friends. And in fact you don’t need to because she’s already asked them herself. Do You Love Me? is the title of a project in which Bacher conducted interviews about herself and her work with many people, over a long period of time. Initially the recordings were exhibited as videos, and this publication combines the unedited transcripts of those conversations with photos, photocopies, letters and artworks, in a lo-fi style which is somewhere between a dossier and a fanzine.

The Mental and the Material
Maurice Godelier


A genius has a great idea for how society ought to be. The idea is implemented and quickly modified by lesser minds with (to be fair) various real life practicalities. And so: how close is society to these great ideas? How far are we from the golden ideas? How do other societies work and change? How are human sciences to be genuinely advanced today? And most importantly: Would you like a series of highly original theses on the constitution, reproduction and transformation of societies? A key book of contemporary social theory.

R. Jay Magill Jr.


If I told you that this is an exceptional, genuinely fascinating book would you believe me? What if I told you that this book was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, does that sound like a lie? The full title works as an excellent description of this book: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars / modern art / hipster chic / and the curious notion that we ALL have something to say (no matter how dull).

Desire in Language
Julia Kristeva


Roland Barthes puts it this way: Julia Kristeva changes the places of things: she always destroys the latest preconception. Her work is entirely new.

In this book (not aimed at the beginner in linguistics…) Julia asks how does literature achieve a positive subversion of the old universe? What can literature accomplish today? How can we find our way through what separates words and images? Also includes a “calm yet horrifying violence” and a Tibetan Mozart.

Jean Baudrillard


It’s probably a good idea to treat yourself to everything Semiotext(e) has put out. This small book is one of the most influential essays of the 20th century, a bewildering thesis which slowly cracks a chickenless linguistic egg over and under you. This is a clinical vision of contemporary consumer societies where signs don't refer anymore to anything except themselves, the whole world of meaning is mutating into abstractions of abstractions.

Perpetual Inventory
Rosalind E. Krauss


Rosalind’s insightful, more-ish essays on art giants and major themes gives the reader a solid grip on the slippery wall of art. Picasso making the picture surface a metaphor for consciousness, Twombly completely misreading Pollock, a voluptuous, startlingly sensuous Judd sculpture, Gertrude Stein’s error on Cubism and a student pointing at a Frank Stella piece while asking: What’s so good about that?

Art After Conceptual Art
Edited by Alexander Alberro and Sabeth Buchmann


This book is a collection of (mostly new) texts (12) on the wide sunny scope of conceptual art and the tans it left behind. The 240 pages will appeal to both the newcomer and the expert of Conceptual Art, covering a wide range of frequently humorous, profound, inspiring art works.

“A fresh perspective on the implication of working in a conceptual mode in the global arena of the 21st century. This is an important prompt to a developing discussion." Canadian Art

The Queen’s Gambit
Walter Tevis


The worlds of chess, tranquillizers, feminism and alcoholism all box each other in Tevis’ bildungsroman thriller of a novel. Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) very much wants you to read it: The Queen's Gambit is sheer entertainment. It is a book I reread every few years--for the pure pleasure and skill of it. From the quiet shadows of an orphanage we’re taken to the bright lights of Grandmaster fame, pressure and heartbreak.

The Letters of Mina Harker
Dodie Bellamy


Our very own Lutz Bacher makes an appearance, stretched out on a plastic chaise lounge in a pair of gold sunglasses. She smirks, points to a row of identical turquoise doors and says, Go on up to room 202 it’s open. Things get wild up in room 202, to find out just how wild I recommend you buy this imagined sequel to Dracula, told via a series of truly fucked up letters from a half goddess, half Bette Davis type character.

The Myths We Live By
Mary Midgley


We are accustomed to think of myths as the opposite of science. But in fact they are a central part of it: the part that decides the significance in our lives. Those are the opening lines of this absolute treasure trove of thought, insights and clarity on topics such as the awkward history of heaven, the “yuk factor” of biotechnology, the privatisation of morality and the relevance of something called “God.”

Don DeLillo


Did Kevin Costner kill JFK? Of course not. Did Lee Harvey Oswald do it? Of course not. Well, maybe. Yes. I don’t know. (New evidence suggests Lutz Bacher was responsible.) It seems that science’s famous Observer Effect was in twisted overdrive here: for every person who has seen the murder, there is a different conspiracy theory. This powerful, convincing book is one version of history which blends fiction and fact to illustrate the events leading up to 12.30 on November 22, 1963.

Adaptation and Appropriation
Julie Sanders


How rife is the use of adaptation and appropriation today? (This short blurb is an adaptation of an online text and I’ve appropriated the English language to write it…) It is of course rife, this book highlights the multiple definitions and uses of Adaptation and Appropriation showing how just how wide the field is. DeLillo’s previously mentioned Libra is dissected, as is work by Darwin, Shakespeare, Bowie, Nirvana and Virginia Woolf. Even Robin Hood gets a nod in this in-depth study.

The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art
Martha Buskirk


Can we say that everything that has ever been and ever will be is art? What are the limits of what art can be? Since the early 1960s, almost anything can and has been called art. (For example, your right thumb is, as of right now, art.) Some people despair at that fact, others have a life. Authorship problems, soap, contextual detonations, gnawed chocolate and self-humiliation are all investigated in this study of wildly imaginative, ephemeral art objects.

The Age of Nixon
Carl Freedman


The sad cartoon character Richard Nixon was described by Steve Martin as such: I feel bad for the guy. I picture him, you know, walking along the beach...big old baggy shorts on, and a metal detector... This persistent image is challenged in Freedman’s book which argues that Nixon had profound psychic connections with the American people and reminds us of his major electoral success. It also explores the meaning of cultural power and (shocker!) argues that Nixon was more deeply liberal than JFK.

Michael Crowe

All of these books are available to purchase in the ICA Bookshop, either online or in person. Please visit us to see our full range of books, magazines, and self published material.