Giveaway: MOCA’s What is Contemporary Art?


MOCA produced a book called Breaking the Rules: What is Contemporary Art which uses paintings and other artworks from the collection to inspire an exploration of the creative process and an unpacking of meaning in contemporary art.

We have three copies to give away to subscribers. Please write to us at and tell us who you will give this book to, and why! We will award the book after December 7, 2014.

Breaking the Rules

It may look like a children’s book, but don’t be fooled. It’s very comforting to have tricky topics broken down in simple terms — in fact, I once knew a screenwriter who used children’s books on her autobiographical assignments because it helped her to understand the basic bones of the story). I found the book a friendly elucidation of basic topics that challenge every viewer – young or old.

And, the book only costs $9.99 so is an easy gift for the holidays!


Here is Ed Ruscha’s room made of chocolate, (Chocolate Room 1970), which is a sweet way to intrigue a child about printmaking (he silkscreened the chocolate for the Venice Biennale, and explains how a temporary installation can be recreated multiple times — as long as Ruscha keeps the spreadable chocolate recipe.


The work of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Six Crimee, 1982)  is introduced as From the Street, and not only introduces the idea of graft art but the notion of a triptych and it’s use over the history of art.  It asks whether the “painting includes a secret code that tells a story, with a nod to Egyptian hieroclyphics.

A Peter Doig painting is used under the topic of Mysterious and the book discusses the illusions in both the painters mind and in popular culture (Friday the 13th movies).


My favorite page is called Taking Off, and displays an Alighiero Boetti painting from 1977 (Aerie) which is simple a sky filled with model planes, and suggests both motion and a childhood fantasy.