Newspapers, magazines, and websites frequently offer lists: the 10 best new restaurants, the 50 top places to see in the world, the 100 best movies of all time. Chicago-based artist Cauleen Smith has created another kind of list
In this series of 57 drawings—each produced on 8½ × 12- inch graph paper in watercolor over graphite, occasionally elaborated with acrylic—the artist proposes a selection of books that is both personal, conveyed by the frequent inclusion of fingers or a thumb shown holding up a given book, and idiosyncratic. Harriet Tubman, C. L. R. James, and bell hooks find their place alongside Starfish, Sea Urchins, and Their Kin by Nelson Herwig. Together the drawings ask challenging questions: Have you read these books? Will you read these books? What will they mean to you? What do they mean to us now? Which titles might be missing?