2020 Artist Recommendations
We asked current and former Contemporary Austin artists "what has inspired you during this unprecedented year?" To watch, listen, or shop the books from an independent book seller, click the links below!
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015. Audiobook narrated by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Antoni wrote, "I find it really powerful to hear Coates' voice reading his words. For me, looking at racism through the lens of the body was extraordinarily moving. If this book interests you, I would also recommend listening to the [podcast] episode of On Being with Krista Tippett with Resmaa Menakem. Menakem's book, My Grandmother's Hands, gives you tools to address the effects from and/or presence of racism in your own body, regardless of your race.”
La Bruja de Texcoco, 2019. A short film by Cecilia Villaverde and Alejandro Paredes.
Small Axe: A Collection of Five Films, 2020. Film series by Steve McQueen.
The Unfortunates by B. S. Johnson, 2009.
Gander wrote, "Described as an experimental 'book in a box' published in 1969 by English author B. S. Johnson. The 27 sections are unbound, with a first and last chapter specified: the 25 sections between them, ranging from a single paragraph to 12 pages in length, are designed to be read in any order, giving a total of 15.5 septillion possible combinations that the story can be read in. I love the event of the ’shuffle’ or throwing the pages in the air. It feels like a moment in history where we can live in the parapossibility of reality. Where other alternatives in the imagination are as important as this version of the world we live in.”
Pleasure, Joy and Happiness, album by Eddie Chacon, 2020.
Island Zombie: Iceland Writings, book by Roni Horn, 2020.
The Summer Book, book by Toye Jansson, 2008.
Mon ciel, mi cielo: What do you really mean?, 2020. Exhibition by Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir, Skaftfell Center for Visual Art.
The Forgotten Frontier, 1930. A film by (Mary) Marvin Brackinridge.
Cardigan, 2020. Song by Taylor Swift.
Atlantics, 2019. A film by Mati Diop.
Forces of Victory, 1979. Album by Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Circe, 2018. Book by Madeline Miller.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulff, 2016.
Robleto wrote: “My favorite book of 2020 (written in 2015) was Andrea Wulff's The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World. The book traces the life of the mostly forgotten visionary German naturalist whose argument for the unification of art and science helped create modern environmentalism.”
Underworld Lit by Srikanth Reddy, 2020.
Stockholder wrote: “I would like to recommend Underworld Lit by Srikanth Reddy who is a colleague of mine in the English Department here at U. Chicago. It is a most unusual blend of two very different kinds of prose that move back and forth together throughout. A kind of straight forward narrative merges with a fantasy narrative. It is like no other book I’ve read, full of ideas, historical references, and layers of emotionality.”
Rooftop Art & Design Film Series
We have screened over 50 films on the Moody Rooftop at the Jones Center on Congress Avenue as part of the Rooftop Art & Design Film Series! Though we have postponed our spring films, you can watch one of our favorite former RAD films, Coast Modern, from home!
Traveling along the Pacific North West coastline from LA to Vancouver, this beautiful film showcases the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture, and the light-filled, expansive homes that have become their legacies. If we could be stuck home anywhere, it would be sheltered in one of these classics of modernist architecture with streaming light and a sense of place.
Coast Modern is available on demand on iTunes, Amazon Prime and Vimeo. Rental/streaming prices may vary.
Watch the trailer >
Presented in Partnership with Austin Film Society
Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint
Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. Director Halina Dryschka’s dazzling, course correcting documentary describes not only the life and craft of af Klint, but also the process of her mischaracterization and erasure by both a patriarchal narrative of artistic progress and capitalistic determination of artistic value.
Streaming available beginning May 1, 2020
General Admission: $12
Watch the trailer >
View film introduction by Andrea Mellard, Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement >
The Painter and the Thief
Desperate for answers about the theft of her two paintings, a Czech artist seeks out and befriends the career criminal who stole them. After inviting her thief to sit for a portrait, the two form an improbable relationship and an inextricable bond that will forever link these lonely souls.
Streaming available beginning June 12, 2020
3-Day Rental: $12
Watch the trailer >
View film introduction by Nadine Pennypacker, Membership Manager >
While The Contemporary Austin is closed to the public, we remain committed to inspiring our community through experiences with contemporary art. We have developed virtual programming to keep Austin inspired, organized virtual art classes for adults and kids through our Art School, and built robust art-based curricula and resources for educators and the general public—all while maintaining our 14-acre sculpture park and caring for the artwork at the Jones Center on Congress Avenue so we will be ready to welcome you back in-person soon. Please consider supporting our efforts if you are able.
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