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What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art
     

What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art

5.0 1
by Will Gompertz
 

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In the tradition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, art history with a sense of humor

Every year, millions of museum and gallery visitors ponder the modern art on display and secretly ask themselves, "Is this art?" A former director at London's Tate Gallery and now the BBC arts editor, Will Gompertz made it his mission to bring modern art's exciting history alive for

Overview

In the tradition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, art history with a sense of humor

Every year, millions of museum and gallery visitors ponder the modern art on display and secretly ask themselves, "Is this art?" A former director at London's Tate Gallery and now the BBC arts editor, Will Gompertz made it his mission to bring modern art's exciting history alive for everyone, explaining why an unmade bed or a pickled shark can be art—and why a five-year-old couldn't really do it. Rich with extraordinary tales and anecdotes, What Are You Looking At? entertains as it arms readers with the knowledge to truly understand and enjoy what it is they’re looking at.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Gompertz has an uncanny knack for making difficult art (and ideas) easy…A lively, witty account of the major moments and movements of the past 150 years.”—Associated Press

“An insightful love letter to modern art and an irreverent rejection of the notion that its pleasures are reserved for a chosen few… Each [chapter] hums with engaging history and entertaining anecdotes, cheeky asides and accessible, illuminating criticism.”–NPR

“Gompertz is determined to dispel the layman's fear of the modern art world and those who inhabit it. What Are You Looking At?, which comes out this week, does a very good job of this—replacing isolating esotericism with witty and chatty commentary.”—Interview  

“A deeply enlightening and buoyant history of modern art and beyond.”—Booklist (starred review)

“[A] highly lucid, lively, and buoyantly composed history…while his tone is breezy and conversational, [Gompertz] astutely and often wittily describes the core of every movement and its key artists.”—Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
Gompertz (former director, Tate Gallery, London; arts editor, BBC) offers an accessible introduction to the often bewildering field of modern art. Given his stated intent to cut through the opaque language and pretensions of an elitist art world, readers might expect Gompertz to treat the avant-garde and its often inscrutable provocations with a degree of skepticism. Instead, his analysis is almost entirely sympathetic as he briskly moves from the mid-19th-century France of Manet and the impressionists to the early-20th-century New York City of emigré Marcel Duchamp and then to the present-day England of Damien Hirst and the Young British Artists. Rather than hold up older contemporary art as distinct from or preferable to the art of today, Gompertz attempts to forge lines of continuity that allow readers to connect celebrated moments in art history to what they encounter in contemporary art galleries. VERDICT While its cast of characters may already be familiar to students of art history, Gompertz's book will appeal to many for its wit, engaging prose, and often highly amusing anecdotes. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/12.]—Jonathan Patkowski, CUNY Graduate Ctr.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142180297
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/24/2013
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
185,005
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 “Gompertz has an uncanny knack for making difficult art (and ideas) easy…A lively, witty account of the major moments and movements of the past 150 years.”
–Associated Press

“An insightful love letter to modern art and an irreverent rejection of the notion that its pleasures are reserved for a chosen few… Each [chapter] hums with engaging history and entertaining anecdotes, cheeky asides and accessible, illuminating criticism.”
–NPR

“Gompertz is determined to dispel the layman's fear of the modern art world and those who inhabit it. What Are You Looking At?, which comes out this week, does a very good job of this—replacing isolating esotericism with witty and chatty commentary.”
–Interview

“A deeply enlightening and buoyant history of modern art and beyond.”
–Booklist (starred review)

“[A] highly lucid, lively, and buoyantly composed history…while his tone is breezy and conversational, [Gompertz] astutely and often wittily describes the core of every movement and its key artists.”
–Publishers Weekly
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Meet the Author

Will Gompertz writes, presents, and produces programs about the arts for the BBC. He lives in Oxford, England.

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What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago