What Are You Looking At? by Will Gompertz is a wonderful romp through the narrative history of art from Impressionism to the present day.

What Are You Looking At? by Will Gompertz Gompertz is an art insider, the former director of London’s Tate Gallery and now the Arts Editor for the BBC. He knows where the bodies — or paintbrushes– are buried. He shares his “secrets” in a gossipy tell-all style laced with with and laugh provoking humor. Art stars of the past 150 years come alive and dry history becomes a stand up comedy routine, which is how this book first began. What Are You Looking At?, began as stand-up comedy at a Fringe Festival. Although funny and irrelevant, Gompertz always manages to pay homage to the great art and artists that populate his pages.

Obviously, the prime audience for this book is people who are interested in art, or want to find out why a dead shark in a tank, a cube, or a canvas filled with drips could fetch such high prices. However, this is also splendid book for entrepreneurs or anyone who is involved with launching a radically new idea in any field because it shows the oft repeated history of innovators.

The history of modern art is populated with people who failed. And failed. They were mocked. They were rejected by those in the establishment. Where mocked. Yet, somehow, the radical innovative artist caught the attention of at least one person, who would support and help propel their ideas, which led to ultimate and great success. These relationships and their anecdotal stories, between artists and other artists (such as Manet and the younger Impressionists or Picasso and Braque),artists and dealers, and artists and collectors that make this book special.

The book takes off from the moment its cover is opened with an impressive and helpful road map–like timeline that elegantly visually shows the innovative, influential artists connected to the next radical (and innovative, influential artists) who they influenced. Even though I knew the history of Modern and Contemporary art, I saw connections in new ways.

Aside being a good gift for artists to give to family and friends who, well, just do not see Contemporary Art as Art, this book is also be a fun and even revealing for those who “know“ art history.

Note: Judy Rey Wasserman only reviews what she likes and is worth sharing with her friends, which includes readers and Twitter followers. This includes art shows, books, movies and sometimes even TV shows that deal with art or artists, or scientific and inspirational topics covered by the blog at artofseeingthedivine.com.

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.

Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However, if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish. https://artofseeingthedivine.com.

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