Books as Multidisciplinary Art Objects: A Recommended Reading List

November 12, 2021

The covers to the books listed below

Artists of different styles often collaborate in the creation of their work. When words and images intersect, they can come together to produce something beneficial for both learning and inspiration. As children, many of us experience this in the form of reading picture books, but throughout our adulthood we are often not provided with the benefits of books like these.

Lisa Pearson founded an independent publisher called the Siglio Press for this specific purpose. Their goal is to publish “uncommon books at the intersection of art and literature.” As an artist herself, she felt there was no existing outlet for this type of creativity. What was once “uncategorizable” now has a community passionate about fostering the genre. In order to celebrate multidisciplinary literature, below you will find ten recommendations to enjoy and hopefully spark creativity in your own life.

 

William Strunk Jr. & E. B. White

The Elements of Style Illustrated

Illus. Maira Kalman

Penguin

The Elements of Style Illustrated is a classic style manual that has assisted writers from all over the world for over a century. Now in its fourth edition, the rules and principles of composition have received a face-lift with the addition of beautiful illustrations by Maria Kalman. Originally written by William Strunk Jr. and further revised by E. B. White, this brief manual provides clear, sharp, and valuable advice for writers of any kind to consistently refer back to with the addition of some beautiful artwork to illustrate it.

 

It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists & Writers

Ed. Lisa Pearson

Siglio Press

It Is Almost That is a collection of twenty-six hybrid works by a collection of women, both authors and artists. This book invites readers to engage in a different form of reading while also recognizing influential work from either emerging or forgotten artists.

 

Sophie Calle

The Address Book

Siglio Press

Sophie Calle once found a misplaced address book while traveling through Paris. Through her efforts to return the book to its owner, Calle also turned it into a creative work. She followed the line of people listed in its pages and photographed her journey along the way in order to create a story. Described as “part conceptual art, part character study, part confession, part essay,” Calle’s multidisciplinary piece sparks the interest of many.

 

Bernadette Mayer

Memory

Siglio Press

Mayer’s Memory combines over 1,100 photographs, two hundred pages of text, and six hours of audio recordings. Her goal was to document the human mind with only an exposed roll of 35mm film and a written journal. This artistic experiment documents how we as humans remember what we live each day.

 

Karen Green

Bough Down

Siglio Press

This unusual work by Karen Green is a collection of poetry on the topic of grief. Her contrasting emotions of both love and loss are accompanied by small collages displaying her self-expression as an artist. Both powerful and moving, this work of art uniquely displays her experiences with loss and what follows.

 

Kosme de Barañano

Philip Guston & the Poets

Hauser & Wirth

Philip Guston & the Poets is a monograph written in honor of the artwork created by Philip Guston himself. Barañano features sixty of Guston’s paintings and twenty-five drawings dating from 1944 to 1980. As an abstract expressionist, Guston’s art is explored alongside critical interpretation and challenges the reader to analyze art in order to discern its implied meaning.

 

Maira Kalman & Barbara Scott-Goodman

Cake

Penguin Random House

The creators of this book bonded through a love of their most favorite dessert: cake. Food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman writes briefly about fond memories associated with the dessert, with the addition of seventeen cake recipes, and Kalman adds a whimsical touch of her own. Whether you’re a fan of cake or in need of a lighthearted read, this book is for you.

 

Gertrude Stein & Maria Kalman

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Illustrated

Penguin Random House

This classic autobiography first written in 1933 was recently republished with colorful illustrations done by Maria Kalman. The stories of Gertrude and Alice’s Parisian life together are given a whimsical aesthetic that brings life to this original work honoring their partnership.

 

Lewis Carroll & Salvador Dalí

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: 150th Anniversary Edition

Ed. Mark Burstein & Thomas Banchoff

Princeton University Press

On its 150th anniversary, artist Salvador Dalí illustrated one piece for each chapter of Carroll’s beloved work in order to highlight its playful fantasyland. As a surrealist artist, Dalí’s work pairs beautifully with the creative themes of this classic novel.

 

Edward Carey

The Swallowed Man

Penguin Random House

This Carey novel reimagines the classic tale of Pinocchio. The Swallowed Man tells the story of Geppetto, Pinocchio’s father. In a challenging path to redemption, Geppetto spends two years inside a large sea creature and documents his time there through the use of both words and art. Carey’s paintings accompanying the story depict the immense power of art along with playful imagination.

Flower Mound, Texas

Kylie Garrett is a senior at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a minor in editing and publishing. While focusing on her efforts in school, she is also involved as a social media intern, local retail associate, and a small art business owner.

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