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The Art Museum Hardcover – October 17, 2011
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"Unprecedented, unique, and vast in scope, this visually spectacular survey of world art belongs in large public, academic, and special libraries. Destined to delight, inspire, and educate, as well as become an invaluable classic, art reference resource, it is very highly recommended."- Library Journal Starred Review
"A category killer. Packed with 3,000 large illustrations of the world's greatest artworks."- VOGUE
"The dream collection. . .The appeal of having 3,000 years of masterpieces at your fingertips is obvious."- Art & Auction
"If this [The Art Museum] were a real museum and not just a book, there would hardly be need for another."- NPR's "All Things Considered"
"If the world's best curators could create a collection containing every notable work for all time, its catalog would resemble The Art Museum."- Conde Nast Traveler
"It's an original and compelling concept: a book conceived and organized to resemble a museum - one that happens to take readers on a tour of art history from King Tut to Jackson Pollack and beyond."- Worth magazine
"The 2,500 works that really matter in 1,000 stunning pages."- Reader's Digest
"The monster of all Christmas art books, this year and maybe for a while. . .this tome is chock-full of things you don't often see reproduced on this scale, and other things you may not even know about and will love on sight."- The New York Times
". . .as in an actual museum, once you plunge into its 990-some pages, you risk getting lost. So turn off the stove, walk the dog, and text the kids before you spend the evening looking at vase paintings and no one hears from you again."- Town & Country
". . .an astonishing book. . .an exciting, nearly perfect collection of the greatest visual art in human history. . .The scope of the book encourages readers to make unexpected connections, as when rooms devoted to African masks and carvings usher us into a section on the Cubists, hinting at the affinities between the two."- BookPage
"If someone asks you, 'What is art?' you could launch into a lecture. Or you could just hand them this battering ram of a book."- Entertainment Weekly
"An encyclopedic art museum between covers, with "permanent" holdings for some 3,000 creme-de-la-creme objects appropriated from collections around the globe."- Holland Cotter for The New York Times Book Review
"The boldest publishing experiment of 2011."- NPR
"Not only does The Art Museum showcase rarely seen works from private collections, it also benefits from the wisdom of 65 of the world's most respected curators and art historians. . .this extensive compendium is easy to digest."- The Washington Post
". . .you couldn't give a more impressive gift. . .Imagine some ten-year-old getting lost in it over Christmas."- Blake Gopnik for The Daily Beast.com
"An astonishing book?an exciting, nearly perfect collection of the greatest visual art in human history."- Bookpage
". . .the most colossal and ambitious publication in the field. . .Indeed, it has some of the characteristics of a real museum, among them an invitation to wander on and on. . .Recommended."- Bloomberg News
"Like a world-class museum that fits on a coffee table."- USAnetwork.com
"Planning a trip to Paris to visit the Louvre? Headed to New York City for a tour of the MoMA? Cancel those plans. All you need is The Art Museum."- The National Post, Canada
". . .the book is a perfect crash course for art-world novices and a collectible for experts."- ELLE.com
About the Author
Conceived and edited by Phaidon editors, with a consulting global team of specialists in all fields of art.
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This book is noteworthy not only for its large format and myriad illustrations, but for its global coverage. In addition to the "western civilization" art, it includes Native American, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. It begins with cave art and goes through the 20th century, featuring paintings, murals, frescoes, architectural details, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, masks, and more. The breadth of coverage is outstanding. It's also wonderful to be able to see together items that are held by museums in different countries.
The image quality is very good. (I wouldn't call it superb: the colors of some seem a little off, and a few aren't as sharp as I expect from Phaidon, but they are definitely very good.) There are many full-page images, and quite a few two-page spreads (for example: the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel). For the price, and particularly given the challenges of photographing many of these works, the quality is astonishing.
I highly recommend this book for any library with an art section, and for anyone who loves art. It's a rare treat to see this many works, this well photographed, all in one volume.
As the editor mentioned, the premise of this book was that one could have an art museum with unlimited wall space and unlimited budget. What would you put there, and how would you arrange it? This book is the result of a group collaboration to answer that question.
"The Art Museum" is a wonderful way to start a journey of understanding art in its many incarnations and flavors.
(But, like a rich dessert, this is a book to be enjoyed in small portions - you need to digest what you are experiencing and then return later for another "helping.")
I highly recommend this book!
It is a very rich collection (and heavy, too). So if you plan to have this in your collection and as a conversation piece, might be helpful to have a dedicated display place for it (like a heavy duty bookstand?) so you don't have to pull it out and put it back!