How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art

David Salle. Norton, $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-24813-5
In these wide-ranging essays, painter Salle’s stated goal is to write about art “in the language that artists use when they talk among themselves.” Rather than a manifesto about art or a practical guide, he presents a collection of 33 short essays on artists and topics as different as John Baldessari’s 2014 Movie Script series and the evolving sensibility of Dadaist Francis Picabia’s paintings. Many of the artists Salle covers are his friends, and he writes about Alex Katz and Jeff Koons the way a collaborator shares his notes with other artists. He explains the career arc of painter Christopher Wool and the themes of Robert Gober’s sculptures with precision and acuity. His writing is full of memorable lines, such as “Most painting is a conversation between continuity and novelty.” Salle’s personal familiarity with the artists he discusses lends a special sort of credibility to his critical assessments. By closely examining specific paintings and exhibitions that are meaningful to him, Salle shows readers what makes a particular work of art tick and what makes it interesting. Along the way, he reveals the origins of his own artistic inclinations and his beliefs about talent and imagination. Sharp insights and an affable tone make this collection equivalent to a hearty discussion with a mentor—recommended for anyone interested in visual arts. 30 color illus. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-393-24814-2
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Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-393-35496-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-6652-4499-2
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