Art books are forever, but the past decade brought forth what very well might have been more than ever before. What follows is a survey of the best art books published from 2010 to 2019, ranked in order of importance. They run the gamut from fiction to photo-books, and some have altered art history along the way.
(For more best-of-the-decade coverage, see the ARTnews editors’ list of the most important artworks and some personal favorites from the past 10 years.)
26. Double Vision: The Unerring Eye of Art World Avatars Dominique and John de Menil by William Middleton (Random House, 2018)
William Middleton’s essential biography of two of the most important art collectors of all time is a formidably detailed account, with extended digressions about the family activities of Dominique and John de Menil and the Houston art scene of the mid-20th century spanning more than 700 pages. Middleton was able to dig up surprising tales about the de Menils: Did you know, for example, that John, a Frenchman to the bone, first tasted barbecue in 1938 and called it “très sympathique”? And the book offers valuable insights into how personal histories informed the couple’s forward-thinking collecting of work by the most meaningful Abstract Expressionist and Pop artists of their time.
25. Chicano and Chicana Art: A Critical Anthology edited by Jennifer A. González, C. Ondine Chavoya, Chon Noriega, Terezita Romo (Duke University Press, 2019)
One of many efforts in recent years to create a fuller picture of art history, this anthology is the first of its kind: a collection devoted to a range of Chicanx artists—from Amalia Mesa-Bains to Carlos Almaraz—who have long been kept out of displays at American museums and are now slowly making their way into the spotlight. Though focused on particular identities, the book broaches larger questions that have pervaded debates about representation…
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