The Shape of Content

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Editorial Reviews

New Republic

The book is the clearest, most forceful statement on art by an artist of our time that I have read.
— Frank Getletin

Virginia Quarterly Review
To find a lucid painter speaking lucidly of art is a thrilling discovery...[He traces] the formation of painting from idea to completion, both generally and specifically with a clarity of thought and a precise use of language which should be a very archetypal model for all critics and painters alike.
The Atlantic
A remarkably interesting book, which puts the reader in rewarding contact with a questing mind and a humane spirit.
New Yorker
Mr. Shahn "sets forth his views on both the practice and the purposes of art with a clarity, cogency, and incisiveness that any professional writer might envy, and he manages to interweave with this a good deal of interesting material about his own development as an artist, as well as a running summary of his opinions on contemporary painting in general...the book is highly controversial...also highly stimulating.
Choice

In this brilliant book, which brings the many talents of Ben Shahn…into one crisp, clear, unified, astounding career, the primary focus is the exploration and explanation of the relationship between Shahn's paintings and photographs…The first half of the book consists of four exquisitely written essays by Kao, Katzman, and Webster, beautifuly illustrated with superb reproductions of Shahn's photographs and related materials, including detailed notes. The second half is an exhibition catalog with a wealth of quality reproductions of his paintings and photographs.
— J. Natal

New Republic - Frank Getletin
The book is the clearest, most forceful statement on art by an artist of our time that I have read.
Choice - J. Natal
In this brilliant book, which brings the many talents of Ben Shahn…into one crisp, clear, unified, astounding career, the primary focus is the exploration and explanation of the relationship between Shahn's paintings and photographs…The first half of the book consists of four exquisitely written essays by Kao, Katzman, and Webster, beautifuly illustrated with superb reproductions of Shahn's photographs and related materials, including detailed notes. The second half is an exhibition catalog with a wealth of quality reproductions of his paintings and photographs.
Choice
In this brilliant book, which brings the many talents of Ben Shahn…into one crisp, clear, unified, astounding career, the primary focus is the exploration and explanation of the relationship between Shahn's paintings and photographs…The first half of the book consists of four exquisitely written essays by Kao, Katzman, and Webster, beautifuly illustrated with superb reproductions of Shahn's photographs and related materials, including detailed notes. The second half is an exhibition catalog with a wealth of quality reproductions of his paintings and photographs.
— J. Natal
New Republic
The book is the clearest, most forceful statement on art by an artist of our time that I have read.
— Frank Getletin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674805705
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1992
  • Series: Charles Eliot Norton Lectures Series , #2002
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 701,436
  • Product dimensions: 0.31 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Artists in Colleges

The Biography of a Painting

The Shape of Content

On Nonconformity

Modern Evaluations

The Education of an Artist

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