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Believing Is Seeing: Creating the Culture of Art Paperback – January 1, 1995
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Appropriately subtitled "Creating the Culture of Art", Staniszewski's book demonstrates that Art is something "that has a specific history and belongs to a particular era." What our culture generally calls "Art" is an invention of the past two hundred years. Thus, modern culture has appropriated the paintings, frescoes, sculptures, and artifacts of earlier times and cultures (where they had historically specific meanings) and labelled them "Art". Modern culture applies this label even though the original creators of these representations and objects would not have regarded their creations as Art in the way we commonly use the term.
The task of defining and identifying Art in contemporary Western society is largely a function of the institutional structures--the museums, galleries, auction houses, and publications--that create the culture of Art. In this way, Marcel Duchamp can mount a urinal on a pedestal and this plumbing fixture becomes "Art", acquires meaning and value, through validation by these institutional arbiters of the Art world. Rejecting essentialism, Staniszewski argues that aesthetic value and meaning are socially constructed, the products of a particular historical moment and culture.Read more ›
Whether you are a student or just someone perplexed by the money, attitudes, or direction that the art world takes, I could not recommend a more readable yet comprehensive beginning.
Over half of the well-designed book is a panorama of cleverly chosen pictures, but the text is a clear and simply put construction of contemporary ideas of art history.
A term that is especially bandied about these days like a crowbar is post-modernism, but without much explanation. After reading this book, I am now a true believer (and hopefully a truer see-er).
It has been hard to keep this book out of the hands of friends. I may have to order a case to give out as gifts!
The text assumes you have a knowledge of art history while the illustrations hold your hand on the way through.
The amount of text is slim with general statements and no real depth. The illustrations are plentiful. The result is like a powerpoint presentation in book form.
Is it worth a read? Well, yes it is. The ideas contained within are worth exploring and understanding. Personally I agree with most of the concept.
I am glad I bought it used and not at the full price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The website says it's in a good condition but to my surprise it wasnc't and back cover was torn, as far as timing it was delivered within the time frame that I paid for.Published on March 7, 2014 by Rabah Foudi
This was a poorly written, unintelligent book. The author states that the many works by Leonardo and Michelangelo are not Art, but Duchamp's urinal signed "R. Mutt" is Art. Read morePublished on July 28, 2008 by Ophelia Wintergreen
Mary Ann Staniszewski's "Believing is Seeing" is a GREAT book. It is articulately written with many reproductions and is used in many university and college level art... Read morePublished on August 6, 2000