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Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery Paperback – February 4, 1997
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"Thrilling, persuasive, challenging and written with a skill and beauty entirely shorn of artifice.... Should be bought, read, re-read and read out loud as often as possible." Edmonton Journal
"Brilliant essays, the finest I=ve read in years, a wonderful, timely endorsement of what art is and what it isn't. In 10 separate ways, from 10 different angles, she takes clear, intelligent aim at the modern wish that art be less arty, and more entertaining; that art be easier for people to chew and quickly digest...Should be required reading." Ottawa Citizen
"It is invigorating to read these essays by a woman who believes in art, full stop." The Globe and Mail
"A delight...I find Winterson an invigorating critic, as well as an exhilarating literary soul mate...At a time when literary commentary is bogged down by dense, impenetrable post-modern and post-structuralist twaddle, Art Objects...offers itself as a breath of fresh thought and fresh expression." Kitchener-Waterloo Record
"Brilliant, challenging, funny, highly personal." Family Practice
"A witty, reasoned look at the power of, and our powerful need for, all forms of art." Ottawa Citizen
"A book of essays to set your intellect on fire." Bruce Powe, The Financial Post
"Potent.... Part soulful meditation and part fiery manifesto.... Ms. Winterson is a passionate writer.... Hers is a book born of a restless, uncompromising intelligence and a life of practicing what she preaches, of taking the kind of artistic risks she so fiercely espouses." The New York Times Book Review
"Winterson is in fine form in these essays about art, arguing, admonishing, infuriating, teasing...She fights solemnly, beguilingly, for ecstasy and silence and the revival of our ability to contemplate...She says much that is important about energy and passion. Her stalwart defence of the modern is a challenge to the barrenness and niggliness with which we live." The Observer (UK)
"There is no denying the beauty and precision of her writing, nor the clarity of her expression...On her heroines—Stein, Woolf, Eliot, books themselves—she is particularly strong and passionate. Through it all, a central theme occurs: that art, true art, is and will remain a vital force, without which life is scarcely worthy of the name." Time Out (UK)
Top Customer Reviews
Wrong, wrong, a thousand times wrong, says the lonely voice of one Jeanette Winterson, author of a beautifully piercing set of essays collectively entitled `Art Objects' (the second word is read as a verb). Winterson makes many excellent points in this work, but for my money the best is her call to objectify art, especially the appreciation of art. A work of art is its own thing, and deserves to be taken on its own merits. If it fails at this, ok, but we need to stop seeing everything in art reflected through our own subjective prism; otherwise we risk lowering it to entertainment and diversion. We already have plenty of that; besides, art deserves better.
This seems a fresh idea, but Winterson points out that it's actually quite old -- we've merely forgotten as we've been soaked with a century and a half of Victorian frumpiness. Most of history has taken art for what it is or could be; only in our self-possessed 20th century have we demanded that art come to us personally, not actually ventured ourselves out into the artistic universe, a strange and difficult land. Winterson's historical perspectives need more flesh, but she's chosen a good villain. At her toughest, Dickens and Trollope come in for some hard knocks. At her most generous, she extols us to keep reading Victorian literature; if only we would stop writing it as well.
This would be some of the best art criticism I've read in years if it stopped there; fortunately, she presses on.Read more ›
This anecdote serves to create the tone of the book, an intense and honest meditation into art and art making. Winterson, weaves us through her meditation through a very readable style and by using very general terms. She simultaneously addresses the novice, to those well versed in the concepts of art history and theory of art criticism. I say this because the questions, what is art?, what is the fuction of art?, why practice art?, are basic questions that can be addressed by all levels of understanding-and it is those questions Winterson addresses. Though she begins with visual art she reverts to her expertise in the form of literature. But, the concepts are easily translated into the other art forms.
However, in her opinions of what is beauty and what is art, Winterson can seem a bit idealistic in her views of art and art making. She professes to be a little out of sync with current society(her confession)-which could be taken as a person who revers the past and therefore is a bit 'old school' in her approach to the topic, however, she does not pretend to be a final authority on the topic either.
But,the 'beauty' of this book is it can be a starting point and a gentle guide for the novice into the ongoing conversation of art and art history as well as an eloquent reminder of fundemental concepts in a splintered conversation of art theory and criticsm.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to read it for an English course but it's so bad I had to say something about it. Makes absolutely no sense and the author is full of herself. Read morePublished 8 months ago by dcmood 7497
This is a book about literature written by a person who dos not confine herself to an academic audience. Read morePublished on July 9, 2014 by Flora Botton Burla
Great quality and great read. If you're an artist or a writer it's a must read! Could barely tell it was used.Published on May 3, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Stupid book. The writer is full of herself. Had to get it for class. Looking to sell it. Not worth a lot anyway.Published on August 27, 2013 by Kimberlee
Best essay on how to approach a relationship with art when your impulse is to run away. Magnificent! I have given many copies as gifts.Published on July 22, 2013 by J. Johnson
In this collection, Winterson declares herself a neo-modernist, with a commitment to experiment, a disdain for realism and a set of ringing certainties about art and the role of... Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by Orna Ross
As pep talks and education for beginning artists, I think the demeanor has a feeling of anger and singular religiousity. Read morePublished on March 6, 2009 by Martin Montana
To quote Emily Dickinson (1830-1886):
"If I read a book
and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me,
I know *that* is poetry. Read more
remember all those years ago when i first read sexing the cherry, and i couldn't beleive such loveliness could happen? and then the passion. i couldn't speak for days. Read morePublished on July 10, 2007 by crowbar