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Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series Paperback – December 1, 1990
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About the Author
Patricia Macdonald studied at Edinburgh University, receiving her doctorate in 1973. She is well known for her innovative, award-winning aerial images. Her previous publications include "Shadow of Heaven, Order & Chaos, "and "Views of Gala. "
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Top Customer Reviews
Of the textual essays, the first is about the mystification of art and history by its associations with assumptions and values that are not necessarily inherent in the work itself, but in its rarity, uniqueness, and commercial demand. He discusses art as being seen as an almost religious icon, and how the reproduction of images has contributed to the mystification of the original image.
The second textual essay is a study of women and how they are seen, who sees them, and how they see themselves being seen by others. It is Berger's critique of the Nude as an art form, and he argues that they place women as objects to be seen and desired and overpowered by men, the subject.
The third essay is about the tradition of oil paintings in Europe between 1500 and 1900. Berger explains the connections between the content of these paintings and the ownership of them as a symbol of affluence, as products of capitalism and the maintenance of the status quo.
The fourth essay has to do with publicity, or advertisement, and the reference that such images make to oil paintings, sexual attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with the current state of life (the promise of a better future, given that you buy something).
I'm not an art historian, and I don't know much about theories of art. But WAYS OF SEEING is a book that pierces into the comfortable notions of art as belonging to the elite and cultured, and reveals its role as used to maintain power structures. Who commissioned the work, who is meant to look at it, what is it putting on display, what are its political motives? These are questions that should be asked of any work of art, and Berger aims to ask these questions. By doing so, he also enlightens the reader.
In seven chapters, Berger assaults the traditional bastions of art 'appreciation', with its obfuscating jargon, elitist interests and, most damagingly, its insistence on timeless, non-'historical' values. three of these essays are text-free, image-based, and Berger claims all the essays can be read independently and in any order, as part of the process of 'deconstructing' the apparatus of art criticism that includes laying bare the mechanics, manipulations and limitations of his arguments, and undermining the very idea of coherent authorship by suggesting the name 'John Berger' signifies a five-piece collective.
contrary to Berger's claim, the image-essays can only be properly understood in connection with the textual ones. these are four now-classic pieces of critical iconoclasm. the first synopsises Benjamin's famous essay 'the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', and discusses how art, and the culture it embodies, has lost its old rarefied authority in a demystifying age of image overload. chapter three analyses the classic tradition of nude paintings, and the misogynistic/patriarchal worldview it upheld.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
received package in good order and within specified timeframe.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is a stunning book. I never thought of seeing, and looking at photographs and paintings in a holistic sense until I read the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rajiv Chopra
The art reproductions are small and in black-and-white, which is ridiculous for a book that is supposed to be about the visual. It was a big disappointment. Read morePublished 1 month ago by PICWA
It was required for my Art class in college. I can't say I agree with most of the what its written here, there are some interesting ideas and some basics on visual literacy, but as... Read morePublished 3 months ago by b.fabela