The best art & design books of 2017

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 art and design books of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2017 here.)


Lauren Greenfield: Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield

In this fascinating, lushly photographed book, photographer Lauren Greenfield, the mind behind iconic documentary The Queen of Versailles, takes us on a visual journey into our society’s obsession with wealth. These photographs explore the divide between rich America and beyond, and do not shy away from depicting the dark side of money.


Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art by Claire Lilley

This gorgeous book gives a thorough overview of the works of 100 ceramic artists from all around the world, with a healthy representation of artists from Asian backgrounds. This is an exceptionally well-curated book that gives great insight into the breadth of ideas being explored by contemporary clay and ceramic artists.


Featherston by Geoff Isaac

A visual biography of the iconic Australian furniture brand, Featherston traces the history of its founding and rise to popularity. Of course, this history is accompanied by beautiful photographs of the chairs that made Featherstone a household name, and some excellent inspiration for lovers of mid-century retro.


Matisse in the Studio by Ellen McBreen et al.

This book looks at the works of Henri Matisse from the bottom up: beginning with inspirations, moving through to sketches and then onto completed paintings and sculptures. Matisse drew inspiration from a number of places, including ancient objects from far-flung cultures, as well as items from his everyday life. A fresh and thorough look at a legendary oeuvre.


Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters by Margo Neale

A wonderfully bright exploration of Indigenous art and how it brings to life the stories written in the land all across Australia, Songlines includes works from dozens of Indigenous artists and craftspeople. As well as presenting these works, Neale delves into the history and spiritual significance behind them.TBC


Australiana to Zeitgeist by Melissa Loughnan

Anyone interested in contemporary Australian art should have this book. It gives an excellent overview of early-career Australian artists working across a range of mediums. This book is colourful, bright and gives fantastic insight into the work of up-and-coming artists, successfully turning traditional ideas of Australian art on their heads.


Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016 by Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is synonymous with celebrity portraits, and in this new book she selects 150 iconic photographs of contemporary high-flyers from the past 12 years. Leibovitz has an eerie talent for disarming her subjects, and in this collection are a number of beautiful portraits showing the more vulnerable sides of powerful people


Chasing the Sky: 20 Stories of Women in Architecture by Design by Toko

This inspiring book showcases the careers of 20 Australian women architects. As well as giving an overview of each architect’s background and work, each chapter also includes a list of ‘life lessons’ from the architect in question, such as ‘do the most with the least’ and ‘professional tenacity is key’. Perfect for women working in creative industries.


The Artist Project: What Artists See When They Look at Art by The Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this book, 120 contemporary artists each talk about a favourite artwork from New York’s iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art. All of the interviewed artists have excellent takes on their chosen works – some quirky, others intellectual, but all insightful. This volume will inspire you to look at old art in new ways.


Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard

Studio sits at the intersection of interior design and visual art. It presents a beautifully photographed array of creative spaces belonging to woodworkers, weavers, stylists, and every creative profession in between. The book is structured around design elements, and is as much a coffee table book as it is an instruction manual for creating your own studio space.

Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art

Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art

Clare Lilley, Phaidon Editors

$79.95Buy now

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