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Showing 1-10 of 71 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 84 reviews
on August 19, 2017
When Gompertz lets his personality show and the anecdotes flow, his prose and this book floats and flies; when he pauses at times for drier academic asides (or to simply fill in a historical gap where he has little interest or passion), it slows. As a whole, this book is a terrific and informative survey of the history of (Western) modern art, albeit with some extremely well-written sections especially at the bookends (Impressionism and the last two decades) and some that are unclear, rushed or dragged out (Dadaism, Fauvism). One shortcoming in this one (and frankly most work): almost no representation by non Western artists (except for political showman Ai Weiwei of course...)
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on September 30, 2013
Gompertz is a knowledgeable and entertaining writer. WAYLA offers a very coherent explanation of the puzzle of modern art --why works with very little technical virtuosity would be so well regarded, including why collectors and museums would pay such absurd prices. I learned a lot from this book. It introduced me to some art and some artists that I really enjoy. It confirmed some of my cynical presumptions about the art business but it also opened my mind.
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on June 25, 2013
I really enjoyed this book; it was informative without being pretentious, as many art history books can be. The author very clearly charts the evolution of modern art from Impressionsim forward, in everyday terms and language that everyone can understand (no boring Artspeak). It was fun, amusing and really kept my interest. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in art.
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on August 24, 2016
Excellent fun read now adopted by Docents Meadows Museum
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on November 24, 2012
A tutorial on modern art by a British expert, written in a breezy, conversational style.

I think that the author, Will Gompertz, does a nice job of informing the reader of the various courses the stream of art in Europe and America have taken over the flow of the last 150 years, especially to and through Minimalism.

The last few chapters were more of a struggle for me as the ever enthusiastic Mr. Gompertz runs through a few of the highly publized artists of recent years, attempting to convince the reader that their works (for example, those of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Jeff Koons) are worth the immense media attention and the millions showered on them by a few wealthy collectors. I remain unconvinced.

As I am of his choice of the clunky word "Entrepreneurialism" to describe the hodgepodge created by Mr. Gompertz' selection of artists from the last few decades.
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on July 5, 2014
As a high school art teacher, this was such a fun read. I've always enjoyed reading the back stories of the contemporary art world, and this book didn't disappoint. Made lots of highlights to share with my students. If you are interested in understanding how today's art became such a mad collection, this is for you. I am going to highly recommend this for my AP Studio Art students. (I will need a disclaimer though for high school age. A few topics and sections might be considered "too adult" by some.)
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on April 29, 2017
This is a must for anyone interested in art. I am so glad
I bought it as it will be something I shall utilize over and
over. I've recommended it to many people.
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on May 11, 2014
I think like others have mentioned, not all the images were included which is a little annoying.... But it is more a matter of curiosity, personally, I am too lazy to go see the paintings off of the internet, but I don't feel like I have missed much as the paintings mentioned but not displayed tend not to have much depth in their explanation. They are merely a historical point without much analysis of the painting itself.

I think the book gives a great analysis of paintings as it puts them in a historical timeline, which is necessary, because context is everything, which most art books don't do. They just talk amount motion, focus, lighting etc.... But now you know why this artist was famous what he did well, what areas of painting he sacrificed on etc.... The analysis is not on the specific painting so much as the painter as whole and what his goals were. It really gives you a chance to walk up to one of his/her paintings and appreciate it even if it wasn't analyzed in the book.

That being said it is written in a very light and enjoyable manner. I would prefer sometimes that the book stick to factual conversations, but to be fair the assumed conversations do help make the book very readable.
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on July 27, 2017
good overview.
liked his humor. scholarship is respectable. worth reading as an overview. nice perspective on recent contemporary art scene.
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on May 4, 2013
I simply loved this book! The style is clear and conversational--so easy to follow, and so entertaining. It is like spending a terrific time with a very erudite but down-to-earth friend who explains all those things about the development of Modern Art that have always either bored or eluded one. I had the hard copy from a library and then bought the download for my Kindle because I will always want to go back to this book and re-read sections.
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