Past selections 2013

  • Des Moines
  • Art Center
  • 4700 Grand Ave
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • 515.277.4405
  • Hours | Directions

  • John & Mary Pappajohn
  • Sculpture Park
  • 13th and Grand Ave
  • Downtown
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Hours | Directions


  • January 13, 2013

    Matisse and Picasso: A Friendship in Art (1992)

    Author: Francoise Gilot

    This book presents the artistic and personal friendship between Matisse and Picasso as seen from Picasso’s companion, Gilot, between the years of 1946-1954. Discussion guide available here.


  • February 10, 2013

    The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a
    Museum Director's Eye (2012)

    Author: Maxwell Anderson

    How do we judge what is good in art? Or more to the controversial point, can we judge art? Acclaimed museum director Maxwell Anderson presents this part personal memoir, part thinking persons guide to the museum, with wit and humor, anecdotes and insights. Art Center Director, Jeff Fleming, will share his personal favorite artworks from the permanent collections at the beginning of this class. Discussion guide available here.


  • March 10, 2013 - Early meeting time, Noon-1:30pm

    Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote
    the History of Modern Art (2010)

    Authors: Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo

    The astonishing narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate cons in the history of art forgery is presented in this book. Infamous con man John Drewe and his accomplice, the affable artist John Myatt, exploited the archives of British art institutions to irrevocably legitimize the hundreds of pieces they forged, many of which are still considered genuine and hang in prominent museums and private collections today. Discussion guide available here.



  • April 14, 2013

    The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta & Claribel Cone
    ( 2002)

    Author: Mary Gabriel

    Etta and Claribel Cone had an eye for art that was unparalleled at their time, and they left Baltimore what is perhaps the best gift the city has ever received: their collection. Discussion guide available here.



  • May 2013 - no meeting  

  • June 9, 2013

    The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon (2005)

    Author: Gijs van Hensbergen

    Of all the great paintings in the world, the story of Pablo Picasso's Guernica may tell us more about the last century's history than any other. Guernica is a story of national struggle, political exile, and the power of art as a tool of protest and of healing. Discussion guide available here.




 July & August 2013 - no meetings


  • September 8, 2013

    I Bought Andy Warhol (2004)

    Author: Richard Polsky

    In 1987 art dealer Richard Polsky set aside $100,000 to purchase a painting by famed Pop artist Andy Warhol - a process that took him 12 years. As an industry insider, Polsky reveals the relationships that make the art world go round. This book presents a behind-the-scenes look at that world - a look that reveals it to be filled with humour, hypocrisy, gossip, greed, manipulation and money. Discussion guide available here.



  • October 13, 2013

    I Sold Andy Warhol. (Too Soon) (2009)

    Author: Richard Polsky

    Richard Polsky leads the way through this explosive, short-lived period when the "art world" became the "art market." He delves into the behind-the-scenes politics of auctions, the shift in power away from galleries, and the search for affordable art in a rich man's playing field. Unlike most in the art world, Polsky is not afraid to tell it like it is as he negotiates deals for clients in New York, London, and San Francisco and seeks out a replacement for his lost Fright Wig in a market that has galloped beyond his means. This book takes an unvarnished look at how the industry shifted from art appreciation to monetary appreciation.

  • November 10, 2013

    The Art Prophets (2011)

    Author: Richard Polsky

    Richard Polsky introduces us to influential late twentieth-century dealers and tastemakers in the art world. These risk takers opened doors for artists, identified new movements, and resurrected art forms that had fallen into obscurity. In this distinctive tour, Polsky offers an insightful and engaging dialog between artists and the visionaries who paved their way.


  • December 8, 2013

    Weiwei-isms (2012)

    Author: Ai Weiwei

    This collection of quotes demonstrates the elegant simplicity of Ai Weiwei's thoughts on key aspects of his art, politics, and life. A master at communicating powerful ideas in astonishingly few words, Ai Weiwei is known for his innovative use of social media to disseminate his views. The short quotations presented here have been carefully selected from articles, tweets, and interviews given by this acclaimed Chinese artist and activist. These quotes span some of the most revealing moments of Ai Weiwei's eventful career--from his risky investigation into student deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to his arbitrary arrest in 2011-providing a window into the mind of one of the world's most electrifying and courageous contemporary artists.