What's the best pairing with coffee? Some say a pain du chocolat, some say a donut. I say - why not have both, while enjoying some beautiful art? Now I know that's not what coffee table books are really used as. They've become a home decor accessory to stack or arrange to brighten up a room, or perhaps a pedestal for that NEST candle? But that's not all they can be, they don't have to sit open gathering dust when you can actually be (gasp) reading them. Or at least, looking at all the beautiful art while you sip your coffee and eat a pastry. I've compiled some of my favorite coffee table books you'll want to read, although they look darn good up on the shelf too.

Jose Parlá: The Street Graffiti Artist That's Now In The ONE World Trade Center

Not many artists have literally been able to bring the streets into the most prestigious art galleries in the world. When I say that, I mean he actually brought scaffolding with graffiti into galleries as his medium, and it's hard not to fall in love. Parlá's work is bright, full of energy and light, and this book is a wonderful illustration of his journey as the son of Cuban immigrant parents in Miami to creating a 15ft x 90ft massive mural for the One World Trade Center.

Buy Parlá Here!

Andrew Kuo: The (Hilarious) Artist That Will Make You Re-Evaluate Your Whole Life

I've never seen more elegant, or introspective, pie charts. It's a simple idea - divide up your day and thoughts, organize it, graph it. But the intensity of Kuo's comedic self reflection and often veiled criticism stands out as a never-ending trove of amusement. In the end, this visually-stunning book is a fascinating glimpse into Kuo's daily life that will have you wondering what's real and what's embellished. Pick this up when you want to smile, and sometimes laugh so hard you spit out your coffee.

Buy Andrew Kuo's What Me Worry Here! << THIS IS ON SALE FOR $13 SO GET IT NOW

Shiraga & Motonaga: How To Make Friends and Influence People Using Your Feet

What do feet, smoke, and water have in common? Not much until artists from the Gutai Art Association started using all three to make stunning art. Shiraga and Motonaga, among others in the movement, used these unorthodox methods to create multi-dimensional works. Most Gutai artists didn't receive international recognition until after their deaths, and in the early 21st century their works were rediscovered by collectors as masterpieces. I have to admit - Shiraga is one of my favorite artists so I may be biased, but this book is a must have for those that love engaging compositions and discovering new artists. If you really insist, you may use it as a conversation-starting décor piece, just make sure to read the summary when speaking with an art lover.

Buy Between Action and the Unknown Here!

Tyler Shields: Hollywood Elite and Burning Cars Seducing You Through a Book

A lot of glamour, champagne, explosions, and fake blood. What else to expect from "Hollywood's Favorite Photographer"? Shields has had a storied career full of controversy, and this book covers all of it. It will make you fall in love, be disgusted, a little confused, and a whole lotta satisfied in 320 pages. It features Hollywood starlets flying, falling, almost burning their tongue. Past that, it's as action-packed as a coffee table book can be, featuring a large variety of Shield's works. Disclosure: I had the pleasure of interviewing him here, so I am a big fan.

Buy Tyler Shields: Provocateur Here!

Art: If You Just Want To Cover It ALL

This is the exact opposite of my previous choices: it covers thousands of years of art in one book in lieu of one artist or one movement. If you're new to the whole art thing, and want to gain a broad view of art throughout the ages with some visual stimuli, buy this. It will give you a grand overview of art history, as well as concise artist biographies, techniques, intent, media, and composition. It's an art class in a book and a lot of fun to leaf through when you forget about Boucher's booty. As one reviewer said, and I agree, "Art History can be FUN!"

Buy Art Here!

If you think there is a really great coffee table book I missed, please let me know! Email me at ekaterina.i.kouznetsova (@) gmail.com.

I included some books that almost made my top 5 below:

Another Verdi masterpiece is coming to Dallas for the first time since 1988! For fans of Verdi's other classics such as La Traviata or Falstaff, Don Carlo features thrilling music and searing drama; political intrigue and personal passions! Called the "Hamlet of Italian Opera," by the New York Times, Don Carlo will premier March 20th at 7:30pm and run three additional performances through March 28th. Tickets start at $19, and you can buy them here before they are all sold out!

Piqued your interest? Read on for more details!


By Giuseppe Verdi

Four Acts in Italian (1884, Milan Version)

Four Performances: March 20, 25 & 28, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.

March 22(m), 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

Father against son. Catholic against Protestant. Friend against friend.

If you are longing for thrilling music combined with searing drama, nobody does it better than Verdi. 

The terrors of the Spanish Inquisition are raging, and so are personal and political passions. France’s Princess Elizabeth is forced to marry Philip II, King of Spain, forsaking her beloved Don Carlo—the firebrand who turns out to be her husband’s own son! Add to the mix the terrifying Grand Inquisitor and the King’s duplicitous mistress, and the stage is set for an explosive mix of sex, politics, and religion.

With The Dallas Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and an international cast sharing the stage in this new opera-in-concert presentation, you may need to securely fasten your seatbelts.

Production Sponsors: Holly and Tom Mayer. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton appears as the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Principal Artist. 

Art from the Meadows Museum Collections and special exhibitions. 


Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Director: Edward Berkeley

Costume Design: Constance Hoffman

Lighting Design: Krista Billings

Wig and Make-up Design: Dawn Rivard

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom


Leah Crocetto*: Elizabeth de Valois

Jamie Barton*: Princess Eboli

Robert Watson*: Don Carlo

Lucas Meachem: Rodrigo

Morris Robinson: King Philip II

Andrea Silvestrelli: The Grand Inquisitor

David Leigh: A Monk

Ewa Plonka*: Tebaldo

Ángel Vargas*: Count Lerma/Herald

Elizabeth Sutphen*: A Heavenly Voice 

* Dallas Opera debut

Explore the many ways in which we connect to the world around us through our senses in speechless: different by design, an exhibition of multisensory, interactive, and immersive experiences for visitors of all backgrounds and abilities. Created in collaboration with designers, scholars, and scientists, speechless presents unique opportunities for discovering new perspectives through communications beyond speech and words.

Co-organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and the High Museum of Art, speechless: different by design will debut site-specific installations and new commissions by six leading and emerging international designers and design teams—Ini Archibong, Matt Checkowski, Misha Kahn, Steven and William Ladd, Laurie Haycock Makela, and Yuri Suzuki. Their new works will create participatory environments in which senses are merged or substituted for one another—for instance, sound will become visible and language will become tactile—so that visitors can engage with their surroundings in new and unconventional ways.

speechless: different by design requires a $16 ticket with discounts for seniors, students, and military. DMA Members and children 11 and under are free.

#dallasmuseumofart #dma #interactiveart