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Hal Foster's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Hal Foster recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Hal Foster's favorite book recommendations of all time.

An anthology of writings, interviews, and images by artist Ed Ruscha.Ed Ruscha is among the most innovative artists of the last forty years. He is also one of the first Americans to introduce a critique of popular culture and an examination of language into the visual arts. Although he first made his reputation as a painter, Ruscha is also celebrated for his drawings (made both with conventional materials and with food, blood, gunpowder, and shellac), prints, films, photographs, and books. He is often associated with Los Angeles as a Pop and Conceptualist hub, but tends to regard such labels... more
Recommended by Hal Foster, and 1 others.

Hal FosterIn a way Ruscha’s work falls between Warhol’s and Richter’s. On the one hand, like Warhol, he says he is not much interested in traditional European art. On the other hand, like Richter, he actually treats with old forms like landscape. But he, too, transforms them utterly. His landscape is the landscape of Los Angeles, so he sees it through the windshield of a car and it is mediated by... (Source)

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The Daily Practice of Painting

Writings 1960-1993

"Now that we do not have priests and philosophers anymore, artists are the most important people in the world. . . . Art is wretched, cynical, stupid, helpless, confusing."
-- Gerhard Richter Gerhard Richter, born in Dresden in 1932, is one of the foremost painters of his generation. A great deal has been written about the bewildering heterogeneity of his work over the past 30 years. His seemingly willful and defiant movement between abstract and figurative modes of representation and his seemingly inconsistent methods of applying paint to canvas are consistent, if nothing else, with...
Recommended by Hal Foster, and 1 others.

Hal FosterIn many ways Gerhard is the opposite of Warhol in his writings and conversations. Warhol, in his early interviews, would say things like, “Ask somebody else something else, I am too stoned to talk right now.” Far from a Warholian idiot savant, Richter is immersed in the tradition of German idealist philosophy and romantic painting, and that of modernist art. He has European culture at his... (Source)

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A loosely formed autobiography by Andy Warhol, told with his trademark blend of irony and detachment


In The Philosophy of Andy Warhol—which, with the subtitle "(From A to B and Back Again)," is less a memoir than a collection of riffs and reflections—he talks about love, sex, food, beauty, fame, work, money, and success; about New York, America, and his childhood in McKeesport, Pennsylvania; about his good times and bad in New York, the explosion of his career in the sixties, and his life among celebrities.
Recommended by Hal Foster, Will Hobson, and 2 others.

Hal FosterMy version of Warhol is very different from others’. So often he is seen as the artist most at ease with the iconicity of celebrities and products, and with the image-world of consumer society at large. I focus instead on how distressed his works are. They show how difficult it is to project an image and sustain a brand, no matter who you are – star, criminal or average Joe. (Source)

Will HobsonThere was something very utopian about Warhol’s images of iconic consumer objects, of which the Rorschach Test was one. (Source)

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Collected Words 1953-1982

Recommended by Hal Foster, and 1 others.

Hal FosterRichard Hamilton is a key artist who, though well-known in the UK and Europe, is not very familiar in the US. I chose Collected Words because it is the best analysis of his work that we have. He was always the most astute critic of his art. (Source)

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First published in 1960, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age has become required reading in numerous courses on the history of modern architecture and is widely regarded as one of the definitive books on the modern movement. It has influenced a generation of students and critics interested in the formation of attitudes, themes, and forms which were characteristic of artists and architects working primarily in Europe between 1900 and 1930 under the compulsion of new technological developments in the first machine age. less
Recommended by Hal Foster, Stephen Bayley, and 2 others.

Hal FosterThis is still a very important book today. Reyner Banham revised what we understand as modern architecture. (Source)

Stephen BayleyHe was in love with America and Americana and he showed me that you can be an academic and have an intellect but you can still write about cars. He legitimised the study of pop culture. (Source)

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