Thinking About Art: Reading and Discussion Group Spring 2021

Thinking About Art: Reading and Discussion Group

Free for ATHICA Members – Join as a 2021 Member Anytime

Join us for a new, members-only online reading and discussion group Thinking About Art. In this debut monthly series, ATHICA will provide reading material and facilitate discussions to be held on Zoom on the third Monday of each month. Participants will receive free books shipped directly to their home for review and study prior to the monthly discussion. Registration is capped at 12 per session; the schedule of readings, registration deadlines, and discussion dates follow below.

February 2021
Registration Opens: January 27, 2021
Registration Deadline: February 5,  2021
Discussion Date: February 15, 2021
Registration Link:
This Is What I Know About Art (Pocket Change Collective)

by Kimberly Drew. Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky.


About the Book
Arts writer and activist Kimberly Drew shows us that art and protest are forever bound together. Drawing on her personal experience through art toward activism, Drew challenges us to create space for that change that we want to see in the world.

About the Author
Kimberly Drew is a writer, independent curator, and activist.  She is the founder of the blog Black Contemporary Art and is co-author of the 2020 book Black Futures.

March 2021
Registration Opens: January 31, 2021
Registration Deadline: March 9, 2021
Discussion Date: March 15, 2021
Registration Link:
Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency
by Olivia Laing

About the Book
In this remarkable, inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed writer and critic Olivia Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters, especially in the turbulent political weather of the twenty-first century.
Funny Weather brings together a career’s worth of Laing’s writing about art and culture, examining their role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keeffe, reads Maggie Nelson and Sally Rooney, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body. With characteristic originality and compassion, she celebrates art as a force of resistance and repair, an antidote to a frightening political time.

About the Author
Olivia Laing is a widely acclaimed writer and critic. She writes for the Guardian, the New York Times, and Frieze, among many other publications. Her books include Crudo (a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the 2019 James Tait Black Prize), To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring, and The Lonely City, which was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and translated into seventeen languages. The recipient of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize in nonfiction, she lives in England.

April 2021
Registration Opens: March 15, 2021
Registration Deadline: April 10, 2021
Discussion Date: April 19, 2021
Registration Link:
On Photography
by Susan Sontag

About the Book
Winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Criticism and one of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as “a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs.” It begins with the famous “In Plato’s Cave” essay, then offers five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a fascinating and far-reaching “Brief Anthology of Quotations.”

About the Author
Susan Sontag was an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist. She mostly wrote essays, but also published novels; she published her first major work, the essay “Notes on ‘Camp“, in 1964. Her best-known works include the critical works Against Interpretation (1966), Styles of Radical Will (1968), On Photography (1977), and Illness as Metaphor (1978), as well as the fictional works The Way We Live Now (1986), The Volcano Lover (1992), and In America (1999).

Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and communism and leftist ideology. Although her essays and speeches sometimes drew controversy, she has been described as “one of the most influential critics of her generation.”

May 2021
Registration Opens: April 16, 2021
Registration Deadline: May 9,  2021
Discussion Date: May 17, 2021
Registration Link:
The Art of Cuphead 
by Studio MDHR

About the Book
Get transported back to the golden age of 1930s animation with an art book celebrating the acclaimed run & gun game, Cuphead!Each page of this curated collection of artwork is designed to capture the vintage look and feel of the 1930’s. Take a gander at the game’s traditional hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation. Peek at the early concepts, production work, and early ideas that went into the making of Cuphead’s characters, bosses, stages and more including never-before-seen content from the upcoming DLC!

Relive the most cherished and challenging moments of Cuphead and Mugman’s adventure to reclaim their souls from The Devil, all in a way you’ve never seen before! Guided by personal insights from game directors Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, take a one-of-a-kind trip through the Inkwell Isles and discover an all-new appreciation for Cuphead’s animation style and challenging retro gameplay.

About the Author
Studio MDHR is a Canadian indie game development studio consisting of brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. The development of the 2017 award-winning game Cuphead was inspired by 1930’s era cartoons produced by the Fleischer and Walt Disney animation studios, along with cartoonists Ub Iwerks, Grim Natwick, and Willard Bowsky. Chad Moldenhauer particularly sought to mimic the Fleischer studio’s “subversive and surrealist” elements. The character that became Cuphead descended from a 1936 Japanese propaganda animated film where a man with a teacup for a head morphs into a tank. Chad Moldenhauer hand-drew the animations and painted the backgrounds using watercolors, colorizing them in Photoshop.


Thinking About Art is sponsored in part by a 2021 Get Artistic Grant from the Creature Comforts Brewing Company.