What Are You Looking At?

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

4.18 (2,216 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 435 pages
  • 138 x 212 x 28mm | 639.99g
  • Plume Books
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations, colour illustrations, figures
  • 0142180297
  • 9780142180297
  • 226,026

About Will Gompertz

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

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."

"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."

"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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Rating details

2,216 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 44% (971)
4 38% (832)
3 13% (298)
2 4% (79)
1 2% (36)
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