Customer Reviews for

A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    The aesthetic child's "eye-spy"

    Steven Johnson's "A is For Art" accomplishes what children's books hope for most: engagement and education. In his collection of contemporary abstract art Johnson teaches kids that art need be "realistic," that artists play with suggestion. In his language he is experimental and silly. My son mostly enjoys ferreting out the hidden letter in each piece (or, by now, remembering its location). He has even started to memorize some of Johnson's most alliterative artistic captions. "A is For Art" is memorable, fun, and instructive for kids and their artistically inclined parents.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 26, 2008

    Another Great Alphabet Book from Stephen T. Johnson

    Six years in the making, A is for Art is a monumental achievement. To help illustrate the point, I will admit a false assumption my lazy brain made when I first saw the book: "Oh, how cool! He's exhaustingly searched through thousands of pieces of contemporary art to discover connections with the alphabet."<BR/><BR/>Not quite. It's even more amazing than that. Imagine if a letter had the power to dictate an artist's creation. "X" instructs the artist to use "x-rays and xerographs of xylophones," and, of course, the x-rayed and xerographed xylophone images must themselves form the letter "x."<BR/><BR/>What is so fresh about Stephen's set of alliterated constraints is that they are not restricted to subjects (nouns) alone. Descriptors (adjectives) and action words (verbs) also inform the creation of his pieces. For example, in "Ice Cream Floats," the "imitation" ice cream cones are "individually illuminated, isolated, immobilized, immersed, inverted, identical, and insoluble."<BR/><BR/>In his own words, Stephen had been, "exploring the English dictionary, selectively choosing and organizing particular words from each letter of the alphabet and, based solely on the meanings of the words, developing a visual work of art."<BR/><BR/>Back to my lazy brain. Where I had originally thought that Stephen searched for these alphabet connections in pre-existing art, he, instead, created all of the art pieces after having worked within a set of self-imposed, alphabet-based constraints.<BR/><BR/>The results reveal startling symmetries, that to a casual observer remain hidden. I use "symmetries" in the broadest sense of the word. Stephen's compositions display a harmony and order that invoke an almost mathematical beauty.<BR/><BR/>"Golden Sections" is a painting based on the letter "G" that depicts a visual representation of the "golden ratio" (think nautilus shell chambers). The letter "G" can be clearly discerned as we follow the fractal through several recursions. <BR/><BR/>In its color palette and use of media, "gradations of green, gray, and gold...rendered with gouache, graphite, glitter, granulated gunpowder, and glue," "Golden Sections" creates such a harmonic effect that one better understands Soviet scientist's V. Vernadsky's assertion that "a new element in science is not the revelation of the principle of symmetry, but the revelation of its universal nature." <BR/><BR/>Finally, I must comment upon Stephen's observation that "the self-imposed limitations and restrictive nature of using only words from each letter of the alphabet to generate an original creation have turned out to be truly liberating."<BR/><BR/>As someone who works with constraints myself (I'm currently working on a 32-page picture book that tells a story using only words that begin with the letters "qu"), I am in complete agreement with Stephen on the power of constraints to unleash creativity. It's a paradox, but that is probably why it works.<BR/><BR/>Stephen's work is concept art at its most meaningful and accessible, ready to tickle the brains and eyes of children of all ages. His work truly exemplifies the notion of "ideart," in which the concept (idea) and its artistic expression are one and the same.<BR/><BR/>I applaud Stephen on his genius creation.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1