“On a Streetcar Named Success,” Tennessee Williams
Really fabulous little discussion of the value in making art as lying in the struggle, and that commercial success, in removing the struggle, can be devastating.
“Take this Fish and Look at It,” Samuel Scudder
A true oldie but goodie, turn of the last century piece on the value of looking (and looking and looking).
“The Unknown Masterpiece,” Balzac
An amazing novella that obsessed Cezanne, Picasso, and other artists—prescient in its implications about Abstract art.
“Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin
Classic piece super-relevant today.
“On Beauty,” Susan Sontag
Another classic piece with timeless relevance.
“The Hunger Artist,” Franz Kafka
While not specifically about visual art—and our selections don’t have to be—this speaks volumes about the downside of dedication and perfectionism, also the fickleness of public taste.
Something by Bruno Schulz (on drawing in childhood or title story from Sanitarium Under the Sign of the Hourglass?).
Like an effervescent Kafka, a brilliant writer and visual artist who sometimes illustrated his stories.
“The Dog That Bit People” or other story with drawings by James Thurber
So Columbus, so funny (the kids need to laugh sometimes), & so charming!
“Cathedral,” Raymond Carver
A beautiful story about bonding through drawing.
What is Art by Leo Tolstoy (excerpts?)
“The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami
A stunning short story that has a little in it of relevance to drawing, industrial design, and much of relevance to the environment and the imagination.