What are You Looking At?
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What are You Looking At? : 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye

By (author) Will Gompertz

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What Are You Looking At? by Will Gompertz - a wonderfully lively and accessible history of Modern Art by the BBC Arts Editor. "An essential primer not only for art lovers but for art loathers too". (Express). 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. "Robert Hughes' The Shock of the New redone a la Bill Bryson". (Telegraph). This book is essential reading for sceptics, art lovers, and the millions of us who visit art galleries every year - and are confused. It will also be enjoyed by readers of The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich and is a perfect primer to the subject for the student or beginner. 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.

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  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 41mm | 768g
  • 06 Sep 2012
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • VIKING
  • London
  • English
  • Trade Paperback.
  • 16 Pages of Colour Pictures, and black and white integrated pictures
  • 0670920495
  • 9780670920495
  • 27,198

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Author Information

As the BBC's Arts Editor, Will Gompertz has interviewed and observed many of the world's leading artists, directors, novelists, musicians, actors and designers. Creativity Magazine in New York ranked him as one of the 50 most original thinkers in the world. He is the author of the international bestselling art history book What Are You Looking At? which has been published in over 15 languages.

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Review quote

Will Gompertz is the best teacher you never had Guardian He is a natural communicator whose passion for art is expressed with wit and verve -- Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, on Will Gompertz Robert Hughes's 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 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 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 Will Gompertz is a natural communicator whose passion for art is expressed with wit and verve -- Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Gallery

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