All-Around Esthetes

the Book Picture

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean that artists take words lightly. What does the art world read? We phoned a number of artists, writers, filmmakers, and critics and asked: What has been the most influential book in your life?

Getting people to answer wasn’t always easy. Some scrupulously guarded their reading habits; others talked, but warily, fearing, no doubt, embarrassments of intellectual riches (or of poverty)—the PR impact of sounding too bookish (or not bookish enough). Still others had plenty to say: a few were ready with picks that crystallized deep-seated intellectual biases and esthetic affinities, others pontificated professorially, revealing refined literary sensibilities. After a slow week of shell-game-like phone tag, Fran Lebowitz, in an inspired mid-afternoon telephone monologue, managed not to mention a single book that had influenced her but

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