What Are You Looking At
150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye
written by Will Gompertz
Viking | ISBN 9780670920495
Hardback – 464 pages
Member’s price: $36.00
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Move over Gombrich - there's a new art book in town! For sceptics, art lovers, and the millions of us who visit art galleries every year - and are confused - "What Are You Looking At"? by BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz is a wonderfully lively, accessible and enlightening history of Modern Art, from Impressionism to the present day. "Robert Hughes' The Shock of the New redone a la Bill Bryson...few are the histories of modern art that name check Beyonce, David Foster Wallace and Susan Boyle, describe the saturnine Paul Cezanne as the 'Cool Hand Luke of the Parisian avant garde'...Filter (s) out all jargon and pretension and filter (s) in plenty of fun...A richly detailed and highly entertaining history from Delacroix to Damien Hirst". ("Telegraph"). "Gompertz flicks through a mental Rolodex of the world's most famous images and describes them with a freshness and vividity that brings them to life". ("The Times"). "An essential primer not only for art lovers but for art loathers too". ("Express"). "Gompertz writes about difficult things - the birth of conceptualism, the link between the pyramidal compositions of Gericault's Raft of the Medusa and Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People - without letting on that they are difficult...this romp through art from the 1860s to now is both hugely accessible and old-fashionedly educative". ("Independent on Sunday"). "Will Gompertz is the best teacher you never had". ("Guardian"). "A lively train-ride through the art movements of the modern period...While he doesn't dumb down the subject, he does take a fresh, energetic approach...He explains movements and "isms" with clarity and humour". ("Scotsman"). "Gompertz has written an energetic and comprehensive romp through modern art". ("Independent"). "What is modern art?" Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join 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 Cezanne 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 gallery trip is going to be a little less intimidating and a lot more interesting. Full of beautiful colour and black and white illustrations. It includes a free pull-out map of Modern Art to guide you through the movements. "Will Gompertz is a natural communicator whose passion for art is expressed with wit and verve". (Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Gallery). Will Gompertz is the BBC Arts Editor and probably the world's first art history stand-up comedian. He was a Director at the Tate Gallery for 7 years. He has a particular interest in modern art and has written about the arts for "The Times" and the "Guardian" for over 20 years. In 2009, he wrote and performed a sell-out one-man comedy show about modern art at the Edinburgh Festival. He was recently voted one of the world's top 50 creative thinkers by New York's "Creativity Magazine".