Design as an Attitude: Nominated books by Andrew Durbin, invited by Alice Rawsthorn

06 December 2020

Guest Curator Alice Rawsthorn invites twelve of her friends from the fields of contemporary art, design and other areas of contemporary culture to nominate books for Dublin Art Book Fair 2020.

The list includes twenty titles nominated by Alice and a further seventy-seven books suggested to us by her invitees. Collectively these books add another incredible, fascinating and diverse dimension to the books that DABF 2020, Design as an Attitude gathers together. The nominated books are available to purchase on our Shop and come with short notes of recommendation, written by their nominees.

Alice Rawsthorn (writer and design critic), Paola Antonelli (Senior Curator of Architecture and Design, MoMA), Alvaro Barrington (artist), Hilary Cottam (social designer), Michael Craig-Martin (artist), Es Devlin (artist and stage designer), Conor Donlon (owner Donlon Books, London), Marie Donnelly (philanthropist), Andrew Durbin (writer and editor of frieze), Helen Marten (artist), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London), Zoé Whitley (Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London).

Selection by Andrew Durbin, writer and editor of frieze

Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red Times Square Blue (NYU Press)
Samuel Delany’s non-fiction masterpiece is a melancholy analysis of the disappearance of the porn cinemas of Times Square amidst Rudy Giuliani’s war on sex. While Delany is incisive on gentrification, I return to this book again and again for his memories of the blue movies of a bygone era. The twilight of hardcore New York still bathes these pages in the neon of shuttered marquees.

Bruce Hainley, Under the Sign of [sic]: Sturtevant’s Volte-Face (Semiotexte)
In this deliberately unwieldy study of the pugnacious plagiarist Sturtevant, Bruce Hainley takes a circuitous route in attempting to better see an American artist who spent her career obscuring herself in the work of others. Hainley experiments with form—the book dabbles in theatre, duelling essays (à la John Ashbery’s ‘Litany’) and traditional biography—only to find himself repeatedly short-circuited by the mega-wattage of Sturtevant’s practice.

Moyra Davey, Index Cards (Fitzcarraldo)
Moyra Davey is as great a reader as she is an artist and writer. This new collection of short essays on art and daily life evince the eclecticism of Davey’s approach to books, paintings, photographs and films. ‘Often I find a spark where I least expect it,’ she writes. What follows are fireworks.

Andrew Durbin (born Orlando, USA) is an author, critic, poet, and the editor in chief of Frieze. His recent publications include MacArthur Park in 2017 and Skyland in 2020, both from Nightboat Books. Before joining Frieze, Durbin served as director of Company Gallery in New York and was a talks curator at the Poetry Project.