Welcome to the Crack Magazine Book Club.
Still using your morning commute to check your feeds? Switch things up a little with our monthly digest of the best IRL long reads. Whether that’s reading material on your favourite grime artists, or art tracing the decade-spanning history of club culture, below we’ve listed six books that’ve been making our bags a bit heavier – in the best possible way.
Enrich the commute, decorate that coffee table and gift your mates some reading material they’ll actually get round to reading.
Curatorial ActivismMaura Reilly
Reilly’s red-bound hardback has been described, in her words, as a manifesto for change in the art world. Through its pages, Curatorial Activism explores the notion of decentralising the long-held hierarchy of white male curation in the art industry. As Reilly explains, art displays and exhibitions have a history of overlooking women of colour and LGBTQ+ artists, perpetuating the erasure of a wider range of voices and also providing a perspective that’s inadequate on an intellectual basis. Tired of seeing the same kind of art? Delve into the exhibitions that’ve implemented curatorial correctives, where curators have addressed the hegemonic master narrative by promoting the margins over the centre.
Art & VinylEdited by Jeffrey Fraenkel and Antoine de Beaupre
Released as a companion book to an exhibition of the same name at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery, Art & Vinyl contains images of over 200 album covers from seminal visual artists, including Yoko Ono, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger and Andy Warhol. If you’re a keen digger yourself, you’ll know that sleeve artwork is a vital component to the package. While you can’t really play your vinyls on the tube, and lugging your collection along would be impractical, you can delve into how artists have used record sleeves as a visual medium and art form in itself.
The latest project from the London-based filmmaker and photographer focuses the lens on a bike gang in Bangkok. During a three-week stint, Gordon documented his experiences living with the gang as they did, and forming a personal connection with each member. Find a different viewpoint to the typical tourist photos you see online via Krahang.
Celebrating the visual identity of storied dance spaces, Clubbed traces 35 years of club culture via its posters, flyers, photography and tickets. Having amassed a collection of club art preceding the internet age, the book features the pre-digital trajectory of graphic design with rare pieces retouched or entirely reproduced from its original counterparts. This is nostalgic rave ephemera in its best form.
Inner City Pressure: The Story of GrimeDan Hancox
Drawing upon a decade’s worth of in-depth interviews with key artists from the grime scene, few people are as well placed to document the genre’s explosion as writer and journalist Dan Hancox. Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime is, at its heart, an investigation into how grime went from being a subculture to the mainstream, making the book as much a story about gentrification, pirate radio, police harassment and riots as it is the evolution of a musical genre. Out this month.
Artists in the City: SPACE in ’68 and beyondEdited by Anna Harding
In the 60s, an artist-led organisation worked with authorities to convert large spaces into artist studios. Unheard of at the time, their methods have been replicated across cities, such as Berlin and New York. Still, to this day, artists struggle to find spaces to create and young painters are gaining a bad rep as gentrifiers. Artists in the City looks into the idea of the artist as a gentrifier, and examines the impact that SPACE have made for creatives, that’s had a knock-on effect today.