The Grove Book of Art Writing: Brilliant Words on Art from Pliny the Elder to Damien Hirst

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9780802137203: The Grove Book of Art Writing: Brilliant Words on Art from Pliny the Elder to Damien Hirst
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Discussing the visual arts successfully in words is often held to be an impossible task. In fact it is merely difficult. And since the days of the ancient Greeks, many writers of all kinds have taken up the challenge -- not only art critics but novelists, poets, gossips, artists, and essayists. In The Grove Book of Art Writing, Martin Gayford and Karen Wright have collected the best and most lively attempts to pin it down, in a single-volume cornucopia of writing on art. From Vasari and Freud on why Mona Lisa smiles, to Adolf Hitler on the degeneracy of modernism, to Picasso on how to measure the depiction of the female body, art historians, art critics, artists, as well as the aforementioned weigh in on what makes art so wonderful, frustrating, what makes it art. From the deadly serious to the deeply witty, from the sublime to the ridiculous, The Grove Book of Art Writing is an eloquent compendium of insight into the diverse ways the visual arts can be seen and thought about.

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Gayford (art critic, Spectator magazine) and Wright (editor, Modern Painters) have scoured the centuries to provide a delightful romp through the world of art writing. The material includes both short stories and long quotes, arranged thematically by chapters that cover the artist at work, models, psychology, and revolution to truth and beauty, how to do it, and bad reviews. Writers ranging from Seneca to Henry James to David Bowie provide pointed, lively entertainment; cumbersome and uninspiring prose is not found here. Readers learn such tidbits as Pierre Bonnard's refusal to have his face photographed after the death of his wife, Brian Eno's attempt to relieve himself in Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain," and John Wells's comparison of abstraction and alchemy. So, ultimately, what is art? Read the Grove Book of Art Writing to find out. Recommended for public libraries and where there is interest.DNadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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