Douglas F. Smith

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A surprisingly fun blend of nostalgia and disruption that’s at once eye-opening and reassuring, and appealing to both the artsy crowd and folks in Wrangler jeans.

On the Verge of Domestication

Art served with an arched eyebrow, a marginal title of some interest to art teachers and students.

The Artist in the Counterculture: Bruce Conner to Mike Kelley and Other Tales from the Edge

An account of unprecedented depth about a time quickly fading from memory, for aficionados of the avant-grade.

The Museum: A Short History of Crisis and Resilience

Though Redman’s book covers a recondite topic, it contains many touchpoints of cultural history and is a timely, engaging read. A more comprehensive title is John Simmons’s 2016 volume Museums: A History.

Surf and Rescue: George Freeth and the Birth of California Beach Culture

A valuable and absorbing biography, starring a forgotten founder of California beach culture.

The American Art Tapes: Voices of American Pop Art

Ultimately inconclusive on the question of artistic independence from Europe, this interesting time capsule of the American pop art elite is a rewarding deep dive into primary sources, packed with felicitous biographical content.

Our National Monuments: America’s Hidden Gems

A universally appealing combination of stunningly beautiful photographs, evocative descriptions, and practical information about some of the nation’s most special places.

Sisters in Art: The Biography of Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton

From their chubby-cheeked “Gibson Girl” childhood through their sunlit dotage, the Brutons were exemplars of many aspects of California history and, in recent years, overlooked. Good’s book corrects this.

Light on Fire: The Art and Life of Sam Francis

An engaging read, avoiding hagiography. This biography of a mercurial rogue has something to amuse or annoy most aficionados.


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