Much of the labor of the art community goes unnoticed, hidden under the myths that perpetuate old ideas about artists as heroes and singular geniuses rather than part of a robust community that elevates ideas, aesthetics, and larger social, political, and cultural movements.
One of the most overlooked staples of our industry is art catalogues, which require a great deal of labor, thought, resources, and research, not to mention the tedious work of acquiring image rights, working with artist estates, dealing with all the creative egos involved, and other frustrations only spoken about in private, behind closed doors.
We, at Hyperallergic, love art catalogues, and we know how much work they entail, so this Sunday, we are focusing this issue on some of the best art museum catalogue essays of the year. We decided to limit the scope of our selection to US museums and found some gems that illuminate, educate, and enliven conversations around art. We applaud those who toil on the largely thankless tasks of publishing catalogues, knowing that they’re not always read as often as they’re displayed prominently on shelves and coffee tables everywhere. We read them though, and we appreciate all of them.
We encourage you to read, share, and discuss these seven outstanding essays
full of insights on art that helps us all feel connected and reflects our lives, hopes, and histories.
– Hrag Vartanian, editor-in-chief