Painting in a World Transformed: How Modern Art Reflects Our Conflicting Responses to Science and Change

Overview

This book shows how painting since the mid-1800s has reflected Western society's mixed feelings about the transformations in our world produced by science and technology. Neither a chronicle of the development of modern art nor a history of the modern era, it instead discusses how artists have represented feelings and ideas about the technological changes of modern times.

Some artists approach this task with an outward focus, representing the world they perceive. Others focus ...

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2005 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. No remainder marks. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 268 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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2005 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Book is in pristine condition. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 268 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. ... The Friends of Art Bookshop is a non-profit organization with proceeds donated to Fine Art student scholarships. Most orders shipped same or next business day! Read more Show Less

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Overview

This book shows how painting since the mid-1800s has reflected Western society's mixed feelings about the transformations in our world produced by science and technology. Neither a chronicle of the development of modern art nor a history of the modern era, it instead discusses how artists have represented feelings and ideas about the technological changes of modern times.

Some artists approach this task with an outward focus, representing the world they perceive. Others focus inward, choosing to represent their personal reactions to that world. The author examines both approaches to show how major art movements of the last two centuries are related to the largest-ever changes in human knowledge. An analysis of 28 works reveals perceptions of technological change as both blessing and curse. The result of this analysis is a fresh view of the major artworks of the past century and a half, along with intriguing insights into our own attitudes towards our world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786422111
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/17/2005
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Retired engineer William H. Libaw lives in Beverly Hills, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword : art and science in the fullness of life 1
1 Soul or machine? 9
2 What is art about? 11
3 How science changed the subject 14
4 The handwriting on the gallery wall : classical vs. romantic 23
5 The line is drawn : Ingres vs. Delacroix 25
6 The subject beneath the surface 35
7 A new realism : Edouard Manet 38
8 Mad haste with impressionism : Monet and Renoir 45
9 The fragile moment : Berthe Morisot 52
10 Women have real lives of their own : Edgar Degas 58
11 Body and soul unreconciled : Vincent van Gogh 65
12 Spirit and matter in Tahiti : Paul Gauguin 71
13 An unearthly remoteness : Paul Cezanne 78
14 The new subject meets the new object 89
15 Decorating the inner world : Henri Matisse 92
16 Cubism and the illusive body : Pablo Picasso 98
17 "But is it art?" Marcel Duchamp 107
18 Turning away from a darkening world 115
19 Alone in the crowd : Edward Hopper 119
20 When flesh trumps spirit : Francis Bacon 124
21 Embodiment without bodies : Mark Rothko 131
22 The subjective stone age : Willem de Kooning 135
23 The resemblance to meaning : Lee Krasner 142
24 The meaning of meaningless : Jackson Pollock 149
25 How real can it get? 157
26 An art of artifacts : Jasper Johns 160
27 Art as science reporting : Robert Rauschenberg 169
28 Art that is deeper than paper : Roy Lichtenstein 175
29 The emptier the better : Andy Warhol 182
30 New faces, old spectrum 191
31 "Privately maintained realities" : Julian Schnabel 195
32 "But is it art" revisited : Damien Hirst 200
33 Striding on two levels : Gerhard Richter 206
34 Spirits in the material world : Anselm Kiefer 213
35 The art of storytelling : Eric Fischl 221
36 Transmuting commodities into art : Jeff Koons 228
37 Postmodern pictures of women : David Salle 234
Conclusions : images of our anxieties 241
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2006

    Modern Art Demystified

    You will learn about more than modern art from LibawÕs new book! If you would like to be able to relate art to the increasingly real, less religious world with its sexual mores, and would appreciate the ability to sort out Manet from Monet, Morisot from from Degas, and then the cubists from the abstract expressionists--and even why Kinkade is not entirely kitsch, you will enjoy LibawÕs succinct method of dealing with each artist in short paragraphs often including one or two examples of their art for discussion. The author demonstrates his erudition and his excellent research references can provide his readers a basis for further exploring artistic times, places and works that have aroused particular interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2006

    Delightfully insightful and provocative study of art and knowledge

    I was extremely impressed with author William H. Libaw's ability to illustrate the peculiar relationship between art and science in an accessibly provocative way. He follows the development of artistic styles through the eras and uses the metaphor of a mirror to reflect art's evolutionary tendendency to imitate life and vice versa until eventually the relationship is cracked, confused, and ultimately irrevocably intertwined. The many pictured examples peppered throughout the book make Mr. Libaw's observations particularly persuasive, and I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique and engaging perspective on the creative motivation behind the ever-changing world of art and how its curious relationship with scientific history will continue to be fascinating. I am curious if Mr. Libaw has additional projects in the works because I look forward to reading more from this uniquely talented writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2006

    Weird Science

    Painting In a World Transformed takes a look at art from an entirely original perspective. In William Libaw's book, art and science move through the ages side by side...somethings playing well together and sometimes not. The author's thoughts truly do provoke! My only complaint is that the prose gives the reader so much to think about -- and then all the illustrations are in black and white. For a book about art, one does wonder what the publisher was thinking...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2006

    Good explanations for weird paintings

    I was amazed to find clear explanations about some kinds of paintings--such as Picasso's Cubism, Jackson Pollock's swirls of paint, and Roy Lichtenstein's giant comic strips--that make no sense to me as art. Helpful as well was the idea that art is like religion, both are mainly about our inner feelings. And that both art and religion are unlike science, which is about learned facts that change our outer world. I like to look at and read about paintings that are beautiful and meaningful, rather than peculiar or mysterious. I highly recommend this book's helpful way of looking at art.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2006

    meanings in paintings

    William Libaw's book, 'Painting in a World Transformed,' gave me some attractive ideas to chew on. He notes that paintings are unlike prose writings in that they often don't provide meaningful explanations of their subject matter. Libaw is a retired engineer, as am I. We engineers work to avoid confusing ambiguity, so I was attracted to this book as an outsider with hopes of getting some clarity about modern art. Libaw quotes what art-world insiders (artists and critics) have written about artworks, and then speculates to give fresh meaning for outsiders: Those art images show how artists have responded to scientific development and change with varieties of wonder and horror. He also shows that the meaning of a picture is often multiple and ambiguous. He notes that the 'art community' is an elite with its own standards and jargon, which differ from those of the masses of people who prefer art with a 'sensual and poetic quality' that often seems merely sentimental to those in the art-world. Libaw makes the case that, finally, it is up to us as individual viewers, to impart meaning to a picture. One of Libaw's chapters, 'The Meaning of Meaningless,' is about Jackson Pollock. He explains that Pollock's drip paintings, which seem so empty of meaning to many of us, illustrate the scientific view (disputed by both religion and art) that there is no meaning, as such, in the objective world. Pollock's work, like that of many of his contemporary fellow artists, shows the view that, although science continues to expand our knowledge, it does not satisfy 'the heartfelt human desire for a world with overall meaning.' Although I believe that there is no divine purpose in life, I find lots of meaning by constructing things and by maintaining human relations. As for Pollock, I enjoy his fierce drippings regardless of whatever Pollock himself had in mind. This book is well worth the read for art-world outsiders seeking feelings and meaning in modern art.

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