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Criticism & Theory

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  1. 8.3 hrs • 12/23/2014 • Unabridged

    The art market has been booming. Museum attendance is surging. More people than ever call themselves artists. Contemporary art has become a mass entertainment, a luxury good, a job description, and for some, a kind of alternative religion. In a series of beautifully paced narratives, Sarah Thornton investigates the drama of a Christie’s auction, the workings in Takashi Murakami’s studios, the elite at the Basel Art Fair, the eccentricities of Artforum magazine, the competition behind an important art prize, life in a notorious art-school seminar, and the wonderland of the Venice Biennale. She reveals the new dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. A judicious and juicy account of the institutions that have the power to shape art history, based on hundreds of interviews with high-profile players, Thornton’s entertaining ethnography will change the way you look at contemporary culture.

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    Seven Days in the Art World

    8.3 hrs • 12/23/14 • Unabridged
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  2. 4.1 hrs • 5/2/2013 • Unabridged

    Adapted from four lectures given at Oxford University by Ali Smith, author of bestselling The Accidental, Artful is a tidal wave of ideas in four thematically organised bursts of thought: ‘On Time’, ‘On Form’, ‘On Edge’ and ‘On Offer and On Reflection’. Refusing to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, Artful is narrated by a character who is haunted, literally, by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Full of both the poignancy and humour of fiction and all the sideways insights and jaunty angles you would expect from Ali Smith’s criticism, it explores form, style, life, love, death, mortality, immortality, and what art and writing can mean.

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    Artful by Ali Smith

    Artful

    Read by Ali Smith
    4.1 hrs • 5/2/13 • Unabridged
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  3. 0.6 hrs • 10/18/2012 • Unabridged

    What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, and probably the world’s first art history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling audio tour that will change the way you think about modern art forever. In the seventh of this twenty-part course, you can discover just how wrong you were about Cubists. They didn’t paint cubes, for a start. But they did change the way we look at objects and the way artists represent them. Cubism is part of a downloadable audiobook series taken from the book What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. Whether you are a skeptic or an art lover, this funny, lively and accessible course on modern art is bound to make your next gallery or museum visit a little less intimidating, and a lot more interesting.

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  4. 0.9 hrs • 10/11/2012 • Unabridged

    What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, and probably the world’s first art-history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling audio tour that will change the way you think about modern art forever. In the sixth of this twenty-part course, find out how if you want to be really now, really modern, really ahead of the game, you need to go backwards. Primitivism and Fauvism re-coloured and recalibrated early twentieth century art, taking inspiration from the most ancient sources they could find. Primitivism/Fauvism is part of a downloadable audiobook series taken from the book What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. Whether you are a skeptic or an art lover, this funny, lively and accessible course on modern art is bound to make your next gallery or museum visit a little less intimidating, and a lot more interesting.

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  5. 0.5 hrs • 10/4/2012 • Unabridged

    What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, and probably the world’s first art history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling audio tour that will change the way you think about modern art forever. In the fifth installment of this twenty-part course, one man discovers the nineteenth century equivalent of 3-D HD: Cézanne becomes the first person to paint using two eyes, completely reinventing perspective, and thus affecting pretty much every picture you’ve seen since. Cézanne is part of a downloadable audiobook series taken from the book What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. You can take the whole course, or pick and choose which movement suits you. Whether you are a sceptic or an art lover, this funny, lively and accessible course on modern art is bound to make your next gallery or museum visit a little less intimidating, and a lot more interesting.

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  6. 1.0 hrs • 9/27/2012 • Unabridged

    What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor and probably the world’s first art history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling audio tour that will change the way you think about modern art forever. In the fourth of this twenty-part course, you can discover how three great artists, van Gogh, Gaugin, and Seurat, changed the look of modern art with radical reimagining of colour, line, and subject matter. And find out which one of them were an arrogant self-publicising dandy, bully, and a syphilitic schemer. Post-Impressionism is part of a downloadable audiobook series taken from the book What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. Whether you are a sceptic or an art lover, this funny, lively and accessible course on modern art is bound to make your next gallery or museum visit a little less intimidating, and a lot more interesting.

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  7. 0.7 hrs • 9/20/2012 • Unabridged

    What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, and probably the world’s first art history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling audio tour that will change the way you think about modern art forever. In the third of this twenty-part course, a group of young artists are given a name—the Impressionists; and they’re not happy about it. Bringing spontaneity and realism to their paintings of industrial Europe, they draw influences from as far away as Japan, and as their works become popular in America, they become the art of the modern world. The Impressionists is part of a downloadable audiobook series taken from the book What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. Whether you are a sceptic or an art lover, this funny, lively and accessible course on modern art is bound to make your next gallery or museum visit a little less intimidating, and a lot more interesting.

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  8. 0.7 hrs • 9/13/2012 • Unabridged

    What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, and probably the world’s first art history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling audio tour that will change the way you think about modern art forever. In the second of this twenty-part course, you can find out how the classically inclined establishment and the new democratic realists clashed; and how the pictures that now adorn your biscuit tins and tea-towels are deeply subversive. Hear the stories behind the banned pictures now regarded as masterpieces. The Pre-Impressionists is part of a downloadable audiobook series taken from the book What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye. Whether you are a sceptic or an art lover, this funny, lively, and accessible course on modern art is bound to make your next gallery or museum visit a little less intimidating and a lot more interesting.

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  9. 6.7 hrs • 8/1/2012 • Unabridged

    In Reason in Art, Santayana explores the social and psychological origins of art. He examines its moral and ideal functions, its lapses into tastelessness, and the distinctive character of music, speech, poetry, and prose. The Spanish-born philosopher sees art as part of the broader human context, concluding that art prepares “the world to receive the soul and the soul to master the world.”

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    Reason in Art

    6.7 hrs • 8/1/12 • Unabridged
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  10. 2.1 hrs • 7/25/2012 • Unabridged

    No one skewers the popular movements of American culture like Tom Wolfe. In 1975, he turned his satirical pen to the pretensions of the contemporary art world, a world of social climbing, elitist posturing, and ingeniously absurd self-justifying theorizing. He addresses the scope of Modern Art, from its founding days as Abstract Expressionism through its transformations to Pop, Op, Minimal, and Conceptual. In the process he debunks the great American myth of Modern Art in an incandescent, hilarious, and devastating blast. Wolfe’s style has never been more dazzling, and his wit never more keen.

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    The Painted Word

    2.1 hrs • 7/25/12 • Unabridged
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  11. 3.1 hrs • 4/23/2012 • Unabridged

    Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn’t get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. The book’s coauthors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is experienced by artmakers themselves. This is not your typical self-help audiobook. This is a title written by artists, for artists—it’s about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do. First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic. Word-of-mouth response alone—now enhanced by internet posting—has placed it among the bestselling books on artmaking and creativity nationally. Art & Fear has attracted a remarkably diverse audience, ranging from beginning to accomplished artists in every medium, including an exceptional concentration among students and teachers.

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    Art & Fear

    3.1 hrs • 4/23/12 • Unabridged
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  12. 4.1 hrs • 9/1/2011 • Unabridged

    Geoff Dyer has won fans writing about everything from jazz to D. H. Lawrence, from photography to neurotic enlightenment, from Cambodia to Rome. The Missing of the Somme, his remarkable book on the significance of the First World War, is a gem for Dyer fans and history buffs alike. With his characteristic wit and insight, here Dyer weaves a network of myth and memory, photos and film, poetry and sculptures, graveyards, and ceremonies that illuminate our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War. From one of our most beloved authors, this is a personal meditation on war and remembrance.

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    The Missing of the Somme

    4.1 hrs • 9/1/11 • Unabridged
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  13. 7.1 hrs • 6/10/2010 • Unabridged

    The art world has never seemed quite so treacherous, so beguiling, and so much fun as in this collection of stories from the original “art detective.” What separates a masterpiece from a piece of junk? Thanks to the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and its American spin-off, everyone is searching garage sales and hunting online for hidden gems, wondering whether their attics contain trash or treasures. In The Art Detective, Philip Mould, one of the world’s foremost authorities on British portraiture and an irreverent and delightful expert for the Roadshow, serves up his secrets and his best stories, blending the technical details of art detection and restoration with juicy tales peopled by a range of eccentric collectors, scholars, forgers, and opportunities. Each chapter focuses on one particular painting and the mystery that surrounds it. Mould is our trusty detective, tracking down clues, uncovering human foibles, and following hunches until the truth is revealed. Mould is known for his ability to crack the toughest puzzles, and whether he’s writing about a fake Norman Rockwell, a hidden Rembrandt, or a lost Gainsborough, he brings both the art and the adventure to life. The Art Detective is memoir, mystery, art history, and brilliant yarn all rolled into one.

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    The Art Detective

    7.1 hrs • 6/10/10 • Unabridged
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  14. 6.5 hrs • 7/23/2008 • Unabridged

    What Is Art? is the result of fifteen years’ reflection on the nature and purpose of art. Tolstoy claims that all good art is related to the authentic life of the broader community and that the aesthetic value of a work of art is not independent of its moral content. The book is noteworthy not only for its famous iconoclasm and compelling attacks on the aestheticist notion of “art for art’s sake” but even more for its wit, its lucid and beautiful prose, and its sincere expression of the deepest social conscience. Tolstoy is an author critics typically rank alongside Shakespeare and Homer. A sustained consideration of the cultural import of art by someone who was himself an artist of the highest stature will always remain relevant and fascinating to anyone interested in the place of art and literature in society.

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    What Is Art? by Leo Tolstoy

    What Is Art?

    Translated by Aylmer Maude
    6.5 hrs • 7/23/08 • Unabridged
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  15. 6.4 hrs • 10/25/2005 • Unabridged

    An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo facing the sea, and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, lit by a single bulb, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome, Francesca Cappelletti, makes a discovery that inspires a search for a work of art of incalculable value, a painting lost for almost two centuries. The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn’t alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others–no one knows the precise number–have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ–its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Paintingis a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. The fascinating details of Caravaggio’s strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harr’s account is not unlike a Caravaggio painting: vivid, deftly wrought, and enthralling.

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    The Lost Painting

    6.4 hrs • 10/25/05 • Unabridged
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  16. 7.6 hrs • 11/1/2003 • Unabridged

    In this series of essays, Roger Kimball, managing editor of the New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator, illuminates some of the chief spiritual itineraries of modern art. His wide range of subjects includes Vincent van Gogh, Clement Greenberg, the Barnes Foundation, Matthew Barney, Mark Rothko, and the Whitney Biennial, as well as the way in which Gilbert and George demonstrate the psychopathology of current cultural influences. Kimball observes that most of the really invigorating action in the art world today is a quiet affair. It takes place not at the Tate Modern in London or at the Museum of Modern Art in New York but off to one side, out of the limelight. It usually involves not the latest thing but permanent things, measured not by the buzz they create but by silences they inspire. These provocative, stimulating essays will open your eyes to the fascinating world of art.

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    Art’s Prospect by Roger Kimball

    Art’s Prospect

    7.6 hrs • 11/1/03 • Unabridged
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