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Art as Experience Paperback – March 6, 1959


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Trade (March 6, 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399500251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399500251
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,395,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Dewey (1859-1952), philosopher, psychologist, and educator, is widely credited as the most influential thinker on education in the twentieth century. He taught philosophy at the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago , and Columbia University. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Love Dewey and his philosophies.
Pamela Capocci
Written by a mature Dewey, this book is about art in its broadest sense, and experience in its particular sense as our primary way of engaging the world.
Bryce R. Cassin
Particularly, while reading Art As Experience I thought of conversations I had with my friend/business partner- Brandon Welchez of the Crocodiles.
S. Pactor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Zettel on May 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
As a reviewer below stated, this is a very interesting book that treats art as a means of recapturing the experience of life and trasmitting that experience to the audience. He captures a number of concepts established earlier by Leo Tolstoy in his "What is Art?" and delves deeper into them, expounding on their more practical and less esoteric uses.
Dewey, however, certainly earns his title as a pragmatist. His wording is complicated and, at times, careful. It is difficult to pin specific sayings or doctrines to him. However, once the task is completed, he has a great deal of important things to say about art and artistic experience.
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful By jmors@monumental.com on April 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although somewhat dated in that what Dewey novelly stated long ago, we now accept as obvious, this is a great book to gain an understanding of art both as a producer and as a spectator.
The central theme is that life is an experience, and that the goal of art is to recapture that experience. Hence, a painting of a flower is only valuable in the way that it captures the essence of a flower, or the experience of viewing a flower. The viewing of a painting must also provide some of the experience of making that painting ( its process ).
If you can manage to finish the book ( the style is a bit archaic ), the experience is worth the effort.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Pactor VINE VOICE on November 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Dewey was an American philosopher of the late 19th and 20th century best known for his espousal of a "pragmatic" philosophy and progressive political ideas, but he also wrote about Art. Art as Experience is not a book per se, but rather a rewriting of a series of lectures he gave on the "philosophy of art" at Harvard in 1931.

Dewey's pragmatic philosophy emphasizing social relations between humans was hugely influential in social sciences like sociology, where he clearly inspired writers like Erving Goffman and anthropology (see Roy Rappaport) His influence has been less notable in the field of aesthetics and art theory, and that's a shame, because in my mind, Art as Experience is the best book about the role of Art in human experience ever written.

Art as Experience starts from the observation that there can be no Art without an Audience- the two are intertwined because humans are social creatures and none of us exist in isolation. This statement about the nature of Art stands in direct contradiction to the two main schools of art philosophy: Classicism, which holds that Beauty is an objective truth that exists outside the experience of any single person and Romanticism, which postulates that the Artist stands alone in the world, without reference to his human environment.

Much of the argument of Art as Experience takes the form of the language philosophy strategy of being extremely precise about the terms being used. This gives the actual text of Art as Experience a tedious feel, even as the ideas expressed dance and sparkle with the light of discovery. Dewey works his way through defining, having an experience, the act of expression, the expressive object, substance and form, etc. I won't lie- it's dry. Boring even.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Singleton on June 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dewey discusses making art and viewing art are not unique activities -- that discipline, engagement and commitment are basic to art in the same way they are basic to other work.

The book undermines the notion that Art is somehow arcane and academic. It's not, the book suggests. It takes work to make art, it takes work to appreciate it, but it is a democratic sort of work, and good art stands up, even when it is not cosseted in museums or galleries.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roderick De Jesus on February 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a little thick, but you have to consider it's based off of his lectures. From the point of view from a philosopher, he gives insight into things that we as artists might already know, but have never realized, and even other stuff that's impossible to see that only someone from the outside could see.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not for your typical classroom art teacher. This text if for those ready to learn how to teach through art, using art as a theoretical framework for education. Recommend reading Dewey on education first.
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By Jillian Harpster on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is definitely a Deweyian text. It is arduous as a read, but if creativity is something that interests you, this book is very enlightening.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Capocci on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love Dewey and his philosophies. Bought for an Art Education class, and ended up reading the whole thing. If you can stick with his stream of consciousness, you won't regret it!
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