» » The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa

Download The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa epub

by Michael Kimmelman

An exploration of art as a great passion of life, written by a chief art critic for The New York Times, considers what can be learned through pictures, sculpture, and the artists who create them, in a personal exploration that invites readers to become more aware of art and the creative spirit within one's own life. 30,000 first printing.
Download The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa epub
ISBN: 1594200556
ISBN13: 978-1594200557
Category: Photography
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: Michael Kimmelman
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (August 18, 2005)
Pages: 256 pages
ePUB size: 1243 kb
FB2 size: 1395 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 440
Other Formats: mobi lit txt rtf

Michael Kimmelman, chief art critic for the New York Times, takes a very down-to-earth tour of the nature of visual art and its contemporary issues in THE ACCIDENTAL MASTERPIECE. This is a book that reaches out to the general reader, beguiling with anecdotes and a willingness to define terms and issues plainly without oversimplification. Kimmelman welcomes everyone to the table of art, not just the cognoscenti. His enthusiasm for artists and the place of art in our lives is infectious.

The first essay inspired the title of the collection. Kimmelman sorts through the work and circumstances of Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947), whose career and life took a permanent turn the day he glimpsed a pretty young woman on the street. She became his muse and often his tormenter, his model and wife. From Bonnard he moves onto the rise of photographic technology and, with its proliferation, the rise of the amateur on the art scene. Then onto how we define and are moved by beauty, which he reflects upon while panting up mountains that have stirred great painters but belatedly release an epiphany for him. He addresses conceptual art next ("The Art of Making Art Without Lifting A Finger"), and then collecting, then finding oneself (and art) when lost, and then the changing attitudes toward figurative rendering, especially nudes, while profiling Philip Pearlstein in particular. "The Art of the Pilgrimage" heads to the land art out west and the last chapter concludes with art that depicts ordinary objects--not Warhol's soup cans as one might imagine, but Wayne Thiebaud's depiction of gumball machines and Chardin's painting of a young man blowing a bubble.

This is not a comprehensive introduction to art history and some academics may argue it is not particularly critical, but it generously imparts a lot of knowledge and awe via its conversational tone. It is a pleasure joining an insider for a special tour of his world.
This book is quite an enjoyable read. Throughout it are bits of travel writing, memoir, and biography, where Kimmelman relates artistic notions to daily life. His prose is witty and clear, so that one focuses more on the meaning than on complicated language. The chapters are divided into separate anecdotal topics, with such fascinating titles as, "The Art of Collecting Lightbulbs" and "The Art of Finding Yourself When You're Lost". Like most books, however, there are slower moments, such as "The Art of the Pilgrimage" chapter. I just skimmed through it and moved on to other sections that held more meaning for me. Overall, this book is one that I will reread. I look forward to discovering further insight from it, and in the meantime will work to apply some of its premise to my own life.
This book has changed my life! Mr. Kimmelman's urbane discussions have enhanced my understanding of the impulse behind my own enthusiasm for objects and arrangements and for the place of art in my life. I wish I had had the book years ago.

Mr. Kimmelman has a superb, almost magical talent for transporting a reader to places and people he has visited as well as to times when his imagination -- informed by an encyclopedic knowledge of writers past and present -- fills in the gaps.

He takes us to a painter's studio darkened by black curtains where Philip Pearlstein transforms models into geometrical compositions; on an exhausting climb up Cezanne's Montagne Sainte-Victoire, where, to his chagrin, he finds a group of elderly French ladies there before him; for an early-morning walk with Pierre Bonnard at his home in southern France, where he lives with an impossible wife; to Antarctica with Frank Hurley, the fearless Australian photographer who captured the romance of the cold south when he sailed with Shackleton on the Endurance; on a near-death experience in Utah, where he had gone to visit a Matthew Barney sculpture in the salt flats in the winter and found himself in chest-high icy water in total darkness after volunteering to find help when car and cell phone failed.

Chapter titles provide clues to how he makes the art experience apparent, i.e., The Art of Making Art Without Lifting a Finger, The Art of Collecting Light Bulbs, The Art of Maximizing Your Time, The Art of Having a Lofty Perspective, The Art of Finding Yourself When You're Lost. As for the last, this book has made me feel "found". I have heard many lectures by eminent art historians--among them Erwin Panofsky at Princeton and Seymour Slive at Harvard--yet not until I read Mr. Kimmelman did I learn to pay attention, live life more alertly, and embrace the art in my daily life.

Mr. Kimmelman, an art critic whose opinions I would like to hear about everything, is a charming companion -- insightful, funny, eloquent, utterly without pretense, and a fountain of perfectly placed observations from past writers, from Nabokov and Proust to Heine, Hobbes, and Hegel. He has created a conversational genre all his own, one that is both moving and joyful.
Very fun reading, and he touches on some of the big guns in art today, ones that are often difficult to describe, much less review critically. Kimmelman has a smooth, scholarly manner making his work accessible and insightful. If you're looking for rigorous analytical parsing of contemporary art, this is not your destination.
I've read this book more than once, just for the shear pleasure of enjoying the writing style, and getting inside the heads of the people Mr. Kimmelman has profiled here.

If you like a good read, like art, or are simply interested in the variety of ways artists work, this is a great snapshot. I love this book.
I didn't find much substance in this book, more or less a lengthy droll on what is basically common sense.