As a novelist, art critic, and cultural historian, Booker Prize-winning author John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to his authority and potency posed by clay and flesh? And how does solitude inform the art of Giacometti? In asking these and other questions, Berger quietly -- but fundamentally -- alters the vision of anyone who reads his work.
For writers, painters, or performers in any field, new hope for overcoming creative blocks and finishing the art of their dreams.The blank page, empty canvas, or uncarved stone will often fill artists with dread. But so may the thought of finishing, showing, or even selling their work. It is in this "artistic anxiety" that creative blocks begin. With an understanding that could only be gained through years of experience in counseling artists, writers, and performers, Eric Maisel, Ph.D. discusses each stage of creation-wishing, choosing, starting, working, completing, selling--and the anxieties particular to each. He then shows how these inhibiting tensions can be turned to artistic advantages, how truth and beauty arrive in the work of art precisely because, and only when, anxiety has been understood, embraced, and resolved. Fearless Creating guides the reader, whether an experienced artist or someone just starting out, past the pitfalls that appear in each stage of the process. By following Dr. Maisel's exercises related both to the world at hand and the ongoing struggles of artistic life, readers will emerge from this book with a completed work of art and a new perspective on their potential to be a fearless creator.
This guide to creativity describes the rediscovery of and reliance upon instinct, intuition and the nature of inspiration, and asks the reader to lay aside the accepted definitions of logical realistic interpretation. The author goes on to examine the mastery of technique, and explains how to translate what comes in through the eye and out via the hand. Finally, we are we are asked to cast aside inspiration and the mastering of technique, stop thinking about it, and just do it.
Where can one find the world's largest prairie chicken, a restaurant shaped like a fish, a massive Paul Bunyan, or an enormous ear of corn? Roadside sculpture is a uniquely American phenomenon and these strange and wonderful figures can be found scattered along highways and standing in small-town squares, particularly in the Midwest.
These odd and oversized attractions have become destinations for travelers. Whether it serves art, commerce, or local pride, the colossus is always a place in itself, a stopping place where the everyday rules of reality are suspended and the observer can gain insight into the way these communities imagine themselves.
Karal Ann Marling visits dozens of these roadside attractions, viewing them analytically, intellectually, and enthusiastically, tracing each one through folklore and literature. Heavily illustrated, this book takes the reader on the road to examine these treasures and all that they represent.
Wilhelm Worringer's landmark study in the interpretation of modern art, first published in 1908, has seldom been out of print. Its profound impact not only on art historians and theorists but also for generations of creative writers and intellectuals is almost unprecedented. Starting from the notion that beauty derives from our sense of being able to identify with an object, Worringer argues that representational art produces satisfaction from our "objectified delight in the self," reflecting a confidence in the world as it is-as in Renaissance art. By contrast, the urge to abstraction, as exemplified by Egyptian, Byzantine, primitive, or modern expressionist art, articulates a totally different response to the world: it expresses man's insecurity. Thus in historical periods of anxiety and uncertainty, man seeks to abstract objects from their unpredictable state and transform them into absolute, transcendental forms. Abstraction and Empathy also has a sociological dimension, in that the urge to create fixed, abstract, and geometric forms is a response to the modern experience of industrialization and the sense that individual identity is threatened by a hostile mass society. Hilton Kramer's introduction considers the influence of Worringer's thesis and places his book in historical context.
It explores art as life's great passion, revealing what we can learn of life through pictures and sculptures and the people who make them. It assures us that art - points of contact with the exceptional that are linked straight to the heart - can be found almost anywhere and everywhere if only our eyes are opened enough to recognize it. Kimmelman regards art, like all serious human endeavors, as a passage through which a larger view of life may come more clearly into focus. His book is a kind of adventure or journey.
It carries the message that many of us may not yet have learned how to recognize the art in our own lives. To do so is something of an art itself. A few of the characters Kimmelman describes, like Bonnard and Chardin, are great artists. But others are explorers and obscure obsessives, paint-by-numbers enthusiasts, amateur shutterbugs, and collectors of strange odds and ends. Yet others, like Charlotte Solomon, a girl whom no one considered much of an artist but who secretly created a masterpiece about the world before her death in Auschwitz, have reserved spots for themselves in history, or not, with a single work that encapsulates a whole life.
Kimmelman reminds us of the Wunderkammer, the cabinet of wonders - the rage in seventeenth-century Europe and a metaphor for the art of life. Each drawer of the cabinet promises something curious and exotic, instructive and beautiful, the cabinet being a kind of ideal, self-contained universe that makes order out of the chaos of the world. The Accidental Masterpiece is a kind of literary Wunderkammer, filled with lively surprises and philosophical musings. It will inspire readers to imagine their own personal cabinet of wonders.
It has been both a pleasure and an honor to edit this book. The pleasure has been in interacting with the gifted authors who wrote the chapters for this volume and the honor has been in knowing that the book is dedicated to a great man and a brilliant psychologist-Daniel E. Berlyne. All the contributors to this book have been touched, at some time, by Dan Berlyne and his ideas. Whether as his teachers, his colleages, his peers, his students, or his friends and arguing partners, we have all felt his presence and been improved by it. The list of contributors to this volume is large and could have been much larger, for a number of people, in fact, contacted me for the oppor- tunity to contribute when they heard about the purpose of this book. It is also an international list, for Dan Berlyne's contacts were international. The diversity in content and style is also intentional. The authors were invited to contribute an original paper in the field in which they are presently engaged, whether theoretical or a report of empirical work, and to indicate the contribution that Dan Berlyne had made to their work. As the reader will note, contributions range from personal and contact in a laboratory to ideas that elicit controversy, argument, and intensive re- search. Daniel Ellis Berlyne was born in Selford, England, a suburb of Man- chester, in 1924, and died in Toronto, Canada, on November 2, 1976.
Art and Artist explores the human urge to create in all its complex aspects, in terms not only of individual works of art but of religion, mythology, and social institutions as well. Based firmly on Rank's knowledge of psychology and psychoanalysis, it ranges widely through anthropology and cultural history, reaching beyond psychology to a broad understanding of human nature.
This volume brings together essays by leading philosophers of art who consider what can be learned from the meaning of art about society, morality, and life in general. This subject inevitably leads to discussion of other issues. Is art distinct from life? Is a concern with art's messages consistent with an appropriately aesthetic appreciation of its works? Is there anything distinctive about the manner in which art communicates its messages, or about the messages it conveys? The topic of art's social and moral importance has always been a central one in aesthetics. However, whereas Plato and Schiller, for instance, viewed art as intimately implicated in a person's moral and social education, modernist theories have argued for art's autonomy and separation from worldly matters. The essays presented here provide a contemporary perspective on this long-standing debate and reveal the recent revitalization of humanist concerns in describing art and its significance.
Contributors are Stephen Davies, Susan L. Feagin, T. J. Diffey, Jenefer Robinson, Gregory Currie, Peter Lamarque, Jerrold Levinson, David Novitz, Ismay Barwell, G ran Hermer n, and Richard Shusterman.