December 29, 2017: Do It by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Hoor Al Qasimi

Introducing this week's Book of the Week - for you all to enjoy over the New Year! The brainchild of curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, Do It is a sensational series of exhibitions based around do-it-yourself instructions. Each participating artist constructs an individual instruction manual which readers will then act out: a collaboration between artist, reader, performer, and viewer. The catch? Participating artists cannot clarify their directions; it is entirely up to each performer to interpret them however they want. Each time these artworks are carried out, the performance develops into something never-before-seen. Variables like a performer's location, language, culture, experiences, voice, and body create continually new (and ever-shifting) outcomes.

This particular body of instructions was revealed at the Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE. Although this series of do-it-yourself artworks was first conceived by Obrist, it is Hoor Al Qasimi—founder of the Sharjah Art Foundation—who gives it new life, invigorated by her intimate understanding of Arab culture. Written in both English and Arabic, this book is accessible to a vast array of readers. Many performances can be done alone, with no additional materials besides the performer's body, voice, or thoughts.

On a more personal note, this book is a favorite of East of West's owner. Reflecting on the past year, she cites one of her favorite memories of 2017 as sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon—face-to-face with one of the most monumental geological attractions in America—reading this version of Do It. She spent the day performing many of the artworks in this book, invigorating these performances once again with new life. Stop by East of West to check this book out from our public library.

December 22, 2017: Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East by Venetia Porter

Our first Book of the Week! This week, our selected book from East of West's library is Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East by Venetia Porter. Word into Art is the catalogue for The British Museum's 2006 exhibition of the same name.

This catalogue documents a stunning collection of modern works of art from the Middle East that meet at the crossroads of visual culture and the written word. An ever present theme in our contemporary society, text takes on a new life by artists such as Dia Al Azzawi, Shirin Neshat, Etel Adnan, and Hassan Massoudi. This book is split into four sections, beginning with the earliest Arabic illuminated texts of the Qur'an and following the artistic movement to contemporary mediums such as graffiti, screenprints, embroidery, and even x-rays. "Word into Art" explains the different types of Arabic script and their uses in such a way that no previous knowledge of Arabic or calligraphy is necessary.

As an added bonus, our copy came with an additional chapbook chronicling some of these artists' favorite poems. This informative and beautiful book is available to be checked out at East of West.