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How to See

Looking, Talking, and Thinking About Art
Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
4.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

How does art work? How does it move us, inform us, challenge us? Internationally renowned painter David Salle's incisive essay collection illuminates the work of many of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Engaging with a wide range of Salle's friends and contemporaries - from painters to conceptual artists such as Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alex Katz, among others - How to See explores not only the multilayered personalities of the artists themselves but also the distinctive character of their oeuvres. 

Salle writes with humor and verve, replacing the jargon of art theory with precise and evocative descriptions that help the listener develop a personal and intuitive engagement with art. The result: a master class on how to see with an artist's eye.

©2018 David Salle (P)2018 Tantor

Critic reviews

“If John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is a classic of art criticism, looking at the ‘what’ of art, then David Salle’s How to See is the artist’s reply, a brilliant series of reflections on how artists think when they make their work. The ‘how’ of art has perhaps never been better explored.” (Salman Rushdie)

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  • Denise
  • 14-04-20

Not for the novice

I have been listening to a great number of audio books in my studio and I almost passed this one over because of some of the reviews. I am glad that I didn't. I have also made the mistake of using reviews here to guide me into books that I felt compelled to finish after purchasing but slightly resented having in my ear. To be brief - this book is not for the unschooled hobbyist artist looking for motivation or stepping up their creative game (plenty of those getting 5 stars). It does provide an interesting perspective for the devoted practitioner who is wrestling with the trends in the last 70 years in contemporary art. It is a take from a painter who was apart of the insurrection of conceptual art via the inaugural CalArts class user the tutelage of Baldessari onwards through the decades. This isn't a luddite painting defense, but a perspective that is subjective, open and informed by decades of real experience both making work and consuming work, and knowing the players personally (artists, dealers, and collectors). I am glad to have it now and wish I had had this when I was in undergrad over 20 years ago (if it had existed). It is a nice counter in some ways to the recent books about the explosive contemporary art market, and from the critics (not that those aren't good too). Hope this helps!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 19-09-18

The title felt like a lie

Well, I'd spent the money so I persisted to the end. But it was a slog. Salle writes authoritatively. He writes with seemingly deep knowledge on modern art history. I appreciated his lucid and intelligent writing. I enjoyed his humorous use of metaphor. Unfortunately for me, I was hoping for content that was consistent with the title. Perhaps a framework for seeing. Perhaps some timeless truths on tools for exploring the products of visual artists. Is there a general way to reach into visual art that would allow viewers to get the most out of what is presented? If that is what you are looking for then the book will likely disappoint you too. The book needed a conceptual framework - a core thesis, carefully developed and laid out. This would have provided a great way to make use of Salle's undoubted knowledge and experience. With this, I would have felt less deceived by the title. Instead, the book had an unusual feel. It was not short on content. But it was like a personally curated encyclopaedia of modern art history mashed up with personal anecdotes. Much of the content was biographical on the large number of artists talked about. A surprising amount of the content was autobiographical. As audiobook it naturally comes without the support of images. The cataloguing of Salle's responses to dozens of artists' bodies of work requires a persistent listener. The second big let down was the extent to which numerous responses contained put-downs of the work of other artists. These did not cast the author as an objective, dispassionate, nor compassionate member of his profession. A more accurate title would not have tempted me to buy. Then I wouldn't have had to write this review. Sorry, David, but the title felt like a lie.

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  • Cayenne
  • 26-08-18

Bored to tears

If there was any entertaining info or story it was buried in polysyllabic pufferie .The writer overused his Thesaurus on steriods so much it became to boring and hard to follow.

3 people found this helpful