Connecticut Art Review is a writing platform for the visual arts in and around the state.

Summer Reading List | Rysz + Rysz

Summer Reading List | Rysz + Rysz

Summer Reading List | Rysz + Rysz

Laingsmall.jpg

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Olivia Laing

Lyrical, luminous essays about artists who made their best work in and about urban spaces as outsiders surrounded by millions of strangers. A valentine to cities, to “the cool green icebox” of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, to Klaus Nomi and David Wojnarowicz, this collection shows Laing at her finest: exploring passions honestly. As a brokenhearted expat living in New York, she finds solace in art and research and is unafraid to be vulnerable with readers as she writes in her own isolation. Ultimately about art’s power to create connections and heighten empathy, this book sends you spiraling down YouTube rabbit holes and through library shelves so you can see what she’s seeing. Or not—the beautiful ache of Laing’s language might be enough. “The city reveals itself as a set of cells, a hundred thousand windows, some darkened and some flooded with green or white or golden light...”

Read it alone in a crowd at one of the café tables in front of Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven.

Bistro tables at the Yale University Art Gallery, photo by Jessica Smolinski.

Bistro tables at the Yale University Art Gallery, photo by Jessica Smolinski.

Hayessmall.jpg

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

Terrance Hayes

The brilliant audacity of his riddles, the playful rhythm of his humor, the power of his expansive, furious, melancholy, eloquent voice—all packaged into boxes fourteen lines each. Through love poems, ghostly griefs, mythologies, protests, tender portraits, musings on masculinity, and takedowns of the racial rhetoric and violence of present-day America with its “pomp & pumpkin pompadour,” Hayes fills the self-imposed formal confines of his sonnets with alliterative, awe-inducing syllables. The way he joins words will make you read out loud to feel their music leave your mouth. Invigorating, infuriating, exciting.

Read this American poet on the patio of the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain.

Patio of the New Britain Museum of American Art, courtesy of the museum

Patio of the New Britain Museum of American Art, courtesy of the museum

St Clair.jpg

The Secret Lives of Color

Kassia St. Clair

Histories behind a rainbow of hues: cochineal, shocking pink, verdigris. This book answers questions you never knew you had. The connection between a Buddhist monk in 630 A.D. and a postwar French painter? The entry on ultramarine makes all clear. A sartorial statement by Mary Queen of Scots? Check the chapter on scarlet. From extravagant royal bickering at Versailles over the popularity of puce, to the subversive yellow grin of pre-emoji smiley faces in 1970s Philadelphia, St. Clair’s stories take you places. Open at random, skim at leisure. Your palette will expand.

Read it washed in Impressionistic light in the riverbank garden of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Riverbank garden of the Florence Griswold Museum, photo by Sean Flynn.

Riverbank garden of the Florence Griswold Museum, photo by Sean Flynn.


Rysz + Rysz is a writing project co-founded by Tori and Ronnie Rysz, a New Haven-based couple who explore cultural connections and make their own. Featuring influencers, places, and pastimes on an international scale, Rysz + Rysz presents creative combinations of art and music, food and travel, and inspires others to find pairings in their own experiences. Follow their weekly posts on Instagram and Twitter.

Tori and Ronnie Rysz, photo by Monique Atherton.

Tori and Ronnie Rysz, photo by Monique Atherton.


Interested in submitting your list of summer reads? Check out the directions here.

Summer Reading List | Jacquelyn Gleisner

Summer Reading List | Jacquelyn Gleisner