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101 Things to Learn in Art School Hardcover – August 19, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; unknown edition (August 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262016214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262016216
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book basically describes 101 art concepts that are taught in art school. However, whereas in art school you learn these concepts through exercises, examples and discussing various art works that underline these concepts, in this book the concepts are described as they would be in a dictionary. I did not feel that I learned anything to improve my personal art understanding or the ability to create better art from simply knowing the meaning of these concepts. Since the title suggests you'll learn 101 things as you would in art school, I had expected exercises to go along with the descriptions of concepts, sample work that would be discussed/analysed to illustrate the concepts. Other than increase my vocabulary, I learned very little from this book.
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Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fun book showing me different drawing style. I hope to keep practicing these styles and become a better artist. Even if I don't it was a fun read. The engaging sketch of a dog on the cover captured my attention. I have done a few sketches of my daughter's dog. I hope I can complete one that is frameable. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation to try drawing a furry dog.
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Format: Hardcover
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. Each leaves you thinking, carrying you into a state of semi-consciousness. You may already agree with the paragraph-long aphorisms or they may challenge the way in which you either view or create art but they will not leave you indifferent.

In form, these lessons seem to come from a long tradition of recently recovered thoughts from an old zen master, and indeed the author draws from some ancient practices. Most have a crisp contemporary feel to them. The lessons can apply to writing as well.
Last but not least, I love the smooth and glossy black hard jacket with the frame in the middle. Very catchy, very classy.

A great book for artists and art lovers.
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