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The Art of Seeing: An Interpretation of the Aesthetic Encounter Paperback – March 7, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0892361564 ISBN-10: 0892361565 Edition: 1st
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The Art of Seeing: An Interpretation of the Aesthetic Encounter + Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention + Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; 1 edition (March 7, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892361565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892361564
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor at Claremont Graduate University and former chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. His previous books include The Evolving Self and the national bestseller Flow.

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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Basch, MD on July 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This extraordinary book is, I believe, under-read and under-utilized. Readers might do best to first read one of Dr. Czikszentmihaly's ("chick-sent-me-high")easier works, such as one of his books on flow experience.
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience would be my recommendation here. Once the concept of flow has been grasped, reading The Art of Seeing will take reader to an entirely new level of both theoretical and practical understanding of human happiness, contentment,enjoyment, etc.
I would caution that the reader, if he or she is like me, must be willing to study and re-study this book's first 2 or 3 chapters, as these pages lay essential groundwork. However, once these well-written but nonetheless difficult pages are digested, the remainder of the book reads smoothly and pleasurably.

I have spent years trying to understand for myself why certain objects, possessions, places, and experiences have held an almost magical quality for me. Similarly, I've tried to understand why certain others have disappointed. Like most other people who are drawn to performing such introspection, I searched for a template or schematic by which I could more easily and practically pursue enjoyment in daily activities as well as my more significant, anticipated experiences. Feng shui seemed vacuous
and, frankly, somewhat maudlin. Psychological and psychoanalytic approaches were forced fits. By contrast, The Art of Seeing presented, in unbiased fashion, a very intellectual yet immensely useable alternative that, within days, I could apply in many situations. For instance,I found that those frustrating and confounding puzzlers that shouldn't be such a big deal but nonetheless are ("Why do I like this car in this color but not in that color?....
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Bukkene Bruse VINE VOICE on April 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Art of Seeing" is a study of the aesthetic experience through the lens of Csikszentmihalyi's "flow" theory of experiences which, somewhat ironically, have been given the technical description of autotelic experiences. The text begins with a discussion of some philosophy and psychology of art that leads into the development of a conceptual model of the aesthetic experience built around the four dimensions of perception, emotion, intellectual engagement, and communication. The bulk of the work consists of the quantitative analysis and interpretation of interviews with museum professionals. The authors further discuss the model in the context of the data, and make recommendations on how museums can better serve their mission.
Although the book seems aimed at museums (the study was done at the behest of the Getty and published by the Getty Press), I found the "flow" model of the aesthetic experience to be quite enlightening, and useful in increasing the quality of my own aesthetic encounters.
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I'm a strong critic of the elite art community at the big museums and high class galleries. Yes, there's a lot in between that you do not need a masters to know something about in order to enjoy it, such as en plein aire, but current big artists like Christo, Chicago do not create art for any one but an elite few. The Art of Seeing makes the point that you need to bring knowledge about the artist and his/her work with you when you view their work. It's a good beginning argument why we should not only teach art but also aesthetics in high school and community college. This is a good starting place for understanding how to approach and get something meaningful out of viewing art.
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Format: Paperback
Csikszentmihalyi and Robinson, satiated my curiosity about the aesthetic experience in describing and defining their survey and interviews. They masterfully analyzed their data and indicated further studies. Brilliant food for the aesthetic brain hungry for understanding.
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Aesthetic is your clue.
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