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What Are You Looking At?

The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art

Will Gompertz - Author

Hardcover | $28.95 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780525952671 | 432 pages | 25 Oct 2012 | Dutton Adult | 9.25 x 6.25in | 18 - AND UP
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For skeptics, art lovers, and the millions of us who visit art galleries every year—and are confused—What Are You Looking At? by former director of London’s Tate Gallery Will Gompertz is a wonderfully lively, accessible narrative history of Modern Art, from Impressionism to the present day.

What is modern art? Who started it? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it such big money? Join BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz on a dazzling tour that will change the way you look at modern art forever. From Monet's water lilies to Van Gogh's sunflowers, from Warhol's soup cans to Hirst's pickled shark, hear the stories behind the masterpieces, meet the artists as they really were, and discover the real point of modern art.

You will learn: not all conceptual art is bollocks; Picasso is king (but Cézanne is better); Pollock is no drip; Dali painted with his moustache; a urinal changed the course of art; why your 5-year-old really couldn't do it. Refreshing, irreverent and always straightforward, What Are You Looking At? cuts through the pretentious art speak and asks all the basic questions that you were too afraid to ask. Your next trip to the art gallery is going to be a little less intimidating and a lot more interesting.

With his offbeat humor, down-to-earth storytelling, and flair for odd details that spark insights, Will Gompertz is the perfect tour guide for modern art. His book doesn’t tell us if a work of art is good; it gives us the knowledge to decide for ourselves.
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“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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