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101 Things to Learn in Art School [Kindle Edition]

Kit White
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What is the first thing to learn in art school? "Art can be anything." The second thing? "Learn to draw." With 101 Things to Learn in Art School, artist and teacher Kit White delivers and develops such lessons, striking an instructive balance between technical advice and sage concepts. These 101 maxims, meditations, and demonstrations offer both a toolkit of ideas for the art student and a set of guiding principles for the artist. Complementing each of the 101 succinct texts is an equally expressive drawing by the artist, often based on a historical or contemporary work of art, offering a visual correlative to the written thought. "Art can be anything" is illustrated by a drawing of Duchamp's famous urinal; a description of chiaroscuro art is illuminated by an image "after Caravaggio"; a lesson on time and media is accompanied by a view of a Jenny Holzer projection; advice about surviving a critique gains resonance from Piero della Francesca's arrow-pierced Saint Sebastian. 101 Things to Learn in Art School offers advice about the issues artists confront across all artistic media, but this is no simple handbook to making art. It is a guide to understanding art as a description of the world we live in, and it is a guide to using art as a medium for thought. And so this book belongs on the reading list of art students, art teachers, and artists, but it also belongs in the library of everyone who cares about art as a way of understanding life.

Editorial Reviews


"This small book, just 6 inches square, excels in presenting ideas that both artists and designers, at all stages of their careers, cannot be reminded of too often." -- Interior Design

"Kit White's 101 Things to Learn in Art School is a delight… Anyone who has ever visited an art museum, made art, or read about it could learn something from this little book." -- Beth Williamson, Cassone

"There cannot be a better, smarter manual for anyone crazy enough to want to become a visual artist, or for the encouraging and/or bewildered loved ones of such a person." -- Kurt Anderson, Studio 360 Blog

"Everyone craves useful wisdom, right? Especially when they're young, and even more especially if they want to become one of those modern alchemists known as visual artists. Well, here it is: page for impeccably crafted page, the best, most thoughtful and lucid primer available for any young (or old) would-be maker of art." -- Kurt Andersen, novelist ( Heyday, Turn of the Century) and public radio host ( Studio 360)

"Kit White gives us a 'manual' in every sense of the word, a lifetime of art-making condensed into 101 cogent maxims that fit in the hand of the aspiring artist." -- Wendy Steiner , author of The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art

"There is a great myth that somehow rules constrain creativity. With grace and wit, Kit White's new book dismantles this received idea, and many others along the way. If the cardinal rule of writing is 'show, don't tell,' Kit White has done exactly that -- he shows us what art-making is by example as much as through the rich content of this incisive book." -- Polly Apfelbaum, artist

About the Author

Kit White is an artist and Professor of Painting at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. His work is in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Guggenheim Museum.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5928 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0262016214
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 19, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MZMZM4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,548 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and brilliant book January 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just picked up 101 Things to Learn in Art School, by Kit White. I found this square little book in the beautiful Getty Center in LA. The book is covered in black rubber and is really fun to hold and touch. Though it is essentially about making art, and some of it is devoted to perspective and composition, much of what White says can be applied to writing and creating in general. There are pages and pages of inspirational messages, coupled with black-and-white reproductions of famous artists' work as interpreted by White. The best thing about this book is it makes you want to create. The drawings are beautiful and make you think about paintings you haven't seen in a while. This is a gentle and brilliant book. Below are some of the more memorable quotes:

Art is the product of process. Whether conceptual, experimental, emotional, or formal, the process you develop yields the image you produce. The materials you choose, the methods of production, and the sources of the images should all reflect the interests that command your attention. The process does not stop with each work completed. It is ongoing. The cumulative result of that process is a body of work.

Art is a continuing dialogue that stretches back through thousands of years. What you make is your contribution to that dialogue. Therefore, be conscious of what has come before you and the conversation that surrounds you. Try not to repeat what has already been said. Study art history and stay alert to the dialogue of your moment.

Complexity derives from the presence of contradiction. The world is not simple. It is rife with complexity. the impulse to eliminate the contradictions that create complexity is natural. But to simplify may be to render a false condition and therefore an incomplete description.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for art students and others. September 11, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
101 Things To Learn In Art School does a great job of presenting big ideas in a concise, but not overly simple way. The topics range from technical advice to philosophical musings about the meaning of art-making in the 21st century. It was a very quick read (took me about 30 minutes) and would be excellent for first year art students trying to wrap their heads around what it means to be an artist. I'll definitely recommend it to all of my teacher friends. The design of the book is gorgeous.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Profound than the Title Implies January 8, 2012
By cejaxon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this as a Christmas gift for my 11-year-old daughter who is sure she wants to be an artist. I wasn't sure whether it would be one of those fluffy faux books -- more greeting card than ideas. I was initially delighted to find it was not, but then concerned it would be above her. I now think some of the ideas are over her head at her age, but she can grow into understanding them -- there's enough to engage her, even at 11. I am an amateur artist & also am getting something out of the book, so it's win-win.

Our local art museum sets up drawing seats with for patrons on Friday nights & Sunday afternoons -- as a result of reading this book (with its emphasis on drawing), we started going to the museum for that in the New Year.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 101 reasons to make this a christmas present November 10, 2011
This is a gem of a little book and very reasonably priced. It is written by someone who is more than just an artist, rather a sage and a philosopher who is also not afraid of sometimes stating the obvious but always with an stimulating twist, quote and original illustration. This is not a "how to" book. It is a reminder of the fundamental truths which underpin the aesthetic world. While the big ideas are delivered in bite-sized chunks allowing you to read the whole book over just two cups of coffee, it would pay to re-visit. It is amusing and serious at the same time - a perfect present for a teenager or student and indeed anyone with an interest in the arts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book.... July 7, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend it to artists...
it's a little bible for an artist....

every day read a little page and see where it takes you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun! July 15, 2013
By Fred K
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Give this book to your parents when you want to go to art school. I went to art school forever, taught in art schools, and love it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thought provoking book February 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This is not a beginner's book, it is not about what brush to use, but it is about how to think about art, what it means, how to go more deeply into constructing your own art in a conceptual way. it is book a that sits between the philosophy and practice of art. Half way through a uni degree, I found it turned thoughtful lights on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple, but eloquent. December 26, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for myself in Amsterdam, then ordered several copies for my artist friends. It's a wonderful book which gives almost profound ideas about art in a very simple way. I recommend it to anyone who practices art or loves art.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep it handy
This is the perfect book to take with you on airplanes, public transit or a waiting room. Its 100 lessons in art can be savored in increments, as the book is designed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by schadenfreude
5.0 out of 5 stars great for your art person
Gave it to my niece going to Chicago Art Institute, also to my brother in law (artist). They love it.
Published 2 months ago by cinderella
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of wisdom
Those who underrated this book did not read the title correctly. This book is worth its weight in gold. Get it.
Published 3 months ago by Carmen Tellez
1.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Mr. White should take his own advice
The nice thing about Amazon's' take a look' is that sometimes you can see all you need. Apart from the glaring contradictions (I'm sure the idea of embracing contradictions is one... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chris Gargan
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning A Lot
I'm only 1/3 of the way through this book and am learning a lot. Not much narrative but really gets me thinking.
Published 8 months ago by Sydney Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book on art
Love this little book...lots of good quotes and ideas about art and life. Nice quality binding and nice surface texture.
Published 8 months ago by Bailey Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking in content and style
This is a beautifully made book of pictures and words about what to learn in art school. The e book is ok. The physical book is a thing of beauty.
Published 12 months ago by Ronald E Jeffries
4.0 out of 5 stars Some really good ideas for beginners.
I'm a photographer, not an artist, but I still found some good, basic ideas to help my creativity. A quick and fun read.
Published 12 months ago by John Gerecht
5.0 out of 5 stars little book, big insights
One does not expect a small book with this title to be so insightful and sophisticated. Complex ideas put simply. I bought 5 copies and gave them as gifts. Read more
Published 14 months ago by zanjoe
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as titled
I thought this book would give you specific tips and advice on how to improve your art work, make it more sellable, or help you express your ideas better. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jean Hancock
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More About the Author

Kit White is a painter, critic, and teacher in the MFA program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up in West Virginia and attended Harvard University where he studied Fine Arts. He has been a practicing artist, based in New York, for over thirty years. His first one person exhibition was in 1977 at the Parsons Dreyfuss Gallery in New York and he has shown continually in New York and elsewhere since. He was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award for Painting in 1979, was a Nominee for the national Awards in Visual Arts and has been a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome as well as a Director's Guest at Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy, where he now serves on the Board. His work is in many museums including the Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Art Museum, the Huntinton Art Museum as well as many other national collections. In addition to catalogue essays, he has written for Art News, Review Magazine and other publications. He lives in New York and is married to the writer, Andrea Barnet.

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