This is a look at the principles of art history. Working from the thesis that modernity is the culture that invented what art is, the author by means of the pictorial essay offers a cultural critique of the contemporary circumstances that have influenced our notions of what art actually is, how we attempt to value it, how we have come to make a business of it. Like film, photography and other forms of mass culture, the author studies how popular taste influences the aesthetic criteria that determine its worth.
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(209mm x 145mm x 17mm)
Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Why are the Palacolithic Venus of Wittendorf, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes and Marcel Duchamp's ready-made urinal all considered to be works of art? Is a Cindy Sherman photograph as much 'art' as a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci? Who decides what art is? In the tradition of Marshall McLuhan and John Berger, this book - which is at once learned and somewhat subversive - presents a new way of assessing our artistic heritage. It seeks to bridge the gulf between classical Japanese painting and the films of Spike Lee, between high art and popular culture, and probes beyond the rhetorical surface of standard art histories. Drawing on the widest possible range of illustrative material the book throws new light on individual works and the often mystifying criteria by which they are valued. A most stimulating work, it contrives to involve the reader directly and provocatively in the debate which it undertakes. (Kirkus UK)
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