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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. "
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
I bought this book for my child's senior year summer reading for an AP class. She indicated that she enjoyed the book.Published 1 month ago by natalyn jennings
After having read this book, you are going to see art in another way. Many of the paintings reproduced in the book are displayed at National Gallery in London, which, for me,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Grzegorz
I had been on the lookout for a good book on visual culture, and after a long search , I decided to buy this one, as it is a classic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read that this little volume was once considered the "little red book of Mao" for art students.... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peter Baklava
We always see high rating books on Amazon, but turns out they are just a redundant and "Mystifying" version from a branch of knowledge. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
received package in good order and within specified timeframe.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer