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Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series [Anglais] [Broché]

John Berger
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Description de l'ouvrage

1 décembre 1990
John Berger’s Classic Text on Art

John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the (London) Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures." By now he has.

"Berger has the ability to cut right through the mystification of the professional art critics . . . He is a liberator of images: and once we have allowed the paintings to work on us directly, we are in a much better position to make a meaningful evaluation" —Peter Fuller, Arts Review

"The influence of the series and the book . . . was enormous . . . It opened up for general attention to areas of cultural study that are now commonplace" —Geoff Dyer in Ways of Telling

Winner of the 1972 Booker Prize for his novel, G., John Peter Berger (born November 5th, 1926) is an art critic, painter and author of many novels including A Painter of Our Time, From A to X and Bento’s Sketchbook.


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Biographie de l'auteur

John Peter Berger (born November 5th, 1926) is an art critic, painter and novelist. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 176 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Books; Édition : TV tie-in ed (1 décembre 1990)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0140135154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140135152
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,6 x 12,7 x 1,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 51.849 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Galaxies, stars, planets and now spaceships rush about the universe, and we have a sense of time passing because the positions of objects change. Lire la première page
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1 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 prejudice 24 avril 2011
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Une suite de clichés développés sur des fondamentaux psychologiques archaïques.
Le genre de livre qui ne sert à rien.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  72 commentaires
112 internautes sur 119 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An historical document, but still fiercely relevant. 22 octobre 2001
Par darragh o'donoghue - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
thirty years on, 'Ways of Seeing' continues to be a major primary textbook, not just for those studying or interested in fine art, but in any of the humanities from literature to cinema. You can see the appeal for lecturers - difficult but essential theorists such as Benjamin and Barthes are explained with bite-size lucidity, even if this sometimes has the effect of caricaturing their work. As Geoff Dyer has noted, much of the impetus given to Cultural Studies, the critical/academic form of post-modernism, can be traced to Berger's TV series and this book: many of the questions raised and areas for study pinponted have generated a whole academic industry.
In seven chapters, Berger assaults the traditional bastions of art 'appreciation', with its obfuscating jargon, elitist interests and, most damagingly, its insistence on timeless, non-'historical' values. three of these essays are text-free, image-based, and Berger claims all the essays can be read independently and in any order, as part of the process of 'deconstructing' the apparatus of art criticism that includes laying bare the mechanics, manipulations and limitations of his arguments, and undermining the very idea of coherent authorship by suggesting the name 'John Berger' signifies a five-piece collective.
contrary to Berger's claim, the image-essays can only be properly understood in connection with the textual ones. these are four now-classic pieces of critical iconoclasm. the first synopsises Benjamin's famous essay 'the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', and discusses how art, and the culture it embodies, has lost its old rarefied authority in a demystifying age of image overload. chapter three analyses the classic tradition of nude paintings, and the misogynistic/patriarchal worldview it upheld. A related chapter, five, shows how oil painting, far from ennobling the viewer's soul, was used to celebrate and confirm property, unequal social relations, even slavery. The final chapter discusses the legacy of this tradition in modern advertising and publicity.
Most of Berger's ideas hold up remarkably well three decades later, sturdy enough not to need the linguistic acrobatics of his successors. As is appropriate, though, for a book pleading the return of history to the criticism or art, 'Ways of Seeing' is itself an historical document. Not just in the sense of a pioneer work being a little dated in its language, a little exposed in its own ideological assumptions. unlike his followers, Berger still seems to love some art, even if his 'exceptions' seem to lack method. Some of his very personal discussions about 'love-making' strike me as being a bit embarrassing, but I'm probably repressed. His Marxist beliefs might have been expected to be the most obsolete element of the book, but the clarity and passion of his ideas are refreshing in these ideologically compromised times.
No, what I mean is, when Berger wrote this book, he was very much the rebellious outsider kicking against the cultural institutions and assumptions propping up various social inequalities. While politically little has changed, the culture industry has been made over in Berger's image. Every work of criticism on literature, cinema, art, even history is now shaped in some way by the ideas formulated here. it is ironic and sad that a book dedicated to opening minds and new ways of seeing (and thinking), should have merely replaced one monolithic worldview with another.
69 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Art as tool 12 décembre 2001
Par Pumpkin King - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
WAYS OF SEEING is a collection of seven essays. Three are pictorial; four are textual. All are about art, how art is seen, how it is valued, how it is used, and what we can learn from looking at art.
Of the textual essays, the first is about the mystification of art and history by its associations with assumptions and values that are not necessarily inherent in the work itself, but in its rarity, uniqueness, and commercial demand. He discusses art as being seen as an almost religious icon, and how the reproduction of images has contributed to the mystification of the original image.
The second textual essay is a study of women and how they are seen, who sees them, and how they see themselves being seen by others. It is Berger's critique of the Nude as an art form, and he argues that they place women as objects to be seen and desired and overpowered by men, the subject.
The third essay is about the tradition of oil paintings in Europe between 1500 and 1900. Berger explains the connections between the content of these paintings and the ownership of them as a symbol of affluence, as products of capitalism and the maintenance of the status quo.
The fourth essay has to do with publicity, or advertisement, and the reference that such images make to oil paintings, sexual attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with the current state of life (the promise of a better future, given that you buy something).
I'm not an art historian, and I don't know much about theories of art. But WAYS OF SEEING is a book that pierces into the comfortable notions of art as belonging to the elite and cultured, and reveals its role as used to maintain power structures. Who commissioned the work, who is meant to look at it, what is it putting on display, what are its political motives? These are questions that should be asked of any work of art, and Berger aims to ask these questions. By doing so, he also enlightens the reader.
182 internautes sur 202 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A classic that's becoming outdated 26 novembre 1999
Par "lexo-2" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Ways of Seeing is the book of a groundbreaking and brilliant TV series that Berger created with Mike Dibb in the 1970s. The book isn't quite as amazing as the series, but it's acquired canonical status anyway as Berger's most frequently set text on art and art criticism. Which is a pity, because while the impressive confidence of Berger's judgments was inspiring back then (Marina Warner and Michael Ondaatje have each paid tribute to it), time has passed over the last quarter of a century and the book is in danger of looking old-fashioned. The theory of desire, which Berger manages to popularise in a single succinct chapter, has been challenged, confirmed, turned upside-down and generally elaborated upon so much since the book was written that his version of it is now inadequate. Advertising is vastly more sophisticated now than it was in 1972 - the ads reproduced in the book, while perfectly representative of their time, are almost laughable in their blatant sexism and classism. (You wouldn't get away with them now, that's for sure.) But the account of the rise of oil painting is still persuasive, even if it lacks the cheek and mischievousness of the TV version. Readers expecting to find Berger's most incisive and complex criticism should look elsewhere, though, to The Sense of Sight or About Looking, because Ways of Seeing is essentially a popularisation of theories that have since become much more complex, and Berger's lapidary, no-argument tone is hardly applicable anymore. Somebody should release the series on video, then we'd get the same ideas in a more engaging and fascinating manner.
32 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Remains a classic popular intro to many issues in art 26 juin 2003
Par Robert Moore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Barely showing its age after thirty years, John Berger's WAYS OF SEEING remains one of the best popular presentations of academic and scholarly thought in recent decades. There are actually very few original ideas in Berger's book. Just about the entire content can be found in a variety of thinkers either inspiring, belonging to, or influenced by the Frankfort school, for instance, Meyer Schapiro, Adorno, and especially Walter Benjamin. None of these thinkers are household names in the English speaking world, even though Schapiro may well be the greatest art critic America has produced, and despite Benjamin's possibly being the greatest cultural critic of the 20th century. One reason their ideas have not become more widely known is the fact that all of these thinkers were deeply influenced by Marxism, though none of them were Communists. As a result, while many of the ideas that Berger presents in his work are well known in literary and scholarly circles, they remain unknown to most casual visitors to art museums.
Berger is intent to challenge ways of looking at art and other images that ignore the status of works of art as commodities. We not only live in a capitalistic society, but one in which virtually all its inhabitants are consumers. Consumers purchase commodities. Berger wants to raise the consciousness of viewers of these paintings that they are not merely "masterpieces," but commodities. Or, in the case of oil painting, visual representations of commodities.
These central assumptions are brought out in a series of essays. The first is a straightforward presentation of the main ideas in Walter Benjamin's seminal essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," a fact that Berger acknowledges at the end of the essay. (This essay can be easily obtained in Benjamin's great collection ILLUMINATIONS, which also includes classic essays on Proust, Kafka, and Baudelaire, as well as his astonishing "Theses on the Philosophy of History.") He goes on to write about such subjects as the significance of nudity (as opposed to nakedness) in painting and the ideological use to which oil painting has been put. He ends with a marvelous discussion of the real point in advertising (which inevitably arose with the shift of all European and American nations to consumer societies).
The great virtue of this book is that Berger has a positive genius for what many of the most pertinent insights of the Frankfort school has been, and a genuine knack for presenting these ideas in a readily graspable form. The book still reads marvelously after several decades. I do think the book would benefit from a second edition with a complete revamping of the photographs. While the content of the book holds up well, the photographs often smack too much of the sixties, making the book feel more like a fragment from the past than it ought. Still, WAYS OF SEEING remains one of the finest popularizations of the past few decades, though I would hasten to add that any academic would also enjoy reading it.
29 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An excellent study of the power of visual discourse. 23 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I must agree that this is an excellent book. It is not only a wonderful series of essays on art, but a landmark study of the ideological function of visual discourse. Berger "shows" how the framing of visual images shapes the viewer's perception of those images and of what they attempt to represent. Chapters two and three, on "ways of seeing women", are especially powerful illustrations of how particular attitudes are reflected in visual representations and of how those attitudes are reaffirmed for the viewer. Berger's argument is that discourse -- visual in this case -- is never purely objective, but is always reflective of a particular way of seeing the world. This is not to say that we should attempt to overcome our particular ways of seeing -- which cannot be done. It is instead a call to be aware of the ways of seeing to which we have become accustomed, and which we reproduce in our own lives.
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