Author(s): Lance Esplund
A veteran art critic helps us make sense of modern and contemporary art
The landscape of contemporary art has changed dramatically during the last hundred years: from Malevich's 1915 painting of a single black square and Duchamp's 1917 signed porcelain urinal to Jackson Pollock's midcentury "drip" paintings; Chris Burden's "Shoot" (1971), in which the artist was voluntarily shot in the arm with a rifle; Urs Fischer's "You" (2007), a giant hole dug in the floor of a New York gallery; and the conceptual and performance art of today's Ai Weiwei and Marina Abramovic. The shifts have left the art-viewing public (understandably) perplexed.
In The Art of Looking, renowned art critic Lance Esplund demonstrates that works of modern and contemporary art are not as indecipherable as they might seem. With patience, insight, and wit, Esplund guides us through the last century of art and empowers us to approach and appreciate it with new eyes. Eager to democratize genres that can feel inaccessible, Esplund encourages viewers to trust their own taste, guts, and common sense. The Art of Looking will open the eyes of viewers who think that recent art is obtuse, nonsensical, and irrelevant, as well as the eyes of those who believe that the art of the past has nothing to say to our present.