Sunday, 31 July 2011

Susie HODGE (2009), How to Survive Modern Art, Tate Publishing,

By Camilo Cañaveral Alzate, 2º ESO A

This magnificent art book introduces the whole history of modern art. It explains the topic using a simple, neat and clear presentation. Every artistic movement section in the book includes illustrations of masterpieces of that epoch/period (all pictures have a text which describe the image shown).

Two important artists which the book presents are Frida Kahlo and Tamara de Lempicka.

Frida Kahlo: The book describes her as an artist who does not fit in just one category but in many. She is now considered as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Many of her paintings are self-portraits (of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits), that express her pain and self-image. She had a very complicated life and showed her feelings in canvases.

Tamara Lempicka: She was the most famous Art Deco painter of her time. She was influenced by Picasso, Braque and Gris. Her work was known as 'soft cubism'. She used elegant, precise and clean colours. She moved to America in 1939.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a section called: YBAs (Brit Art). I like it because it’s shocking and full of meaning. An example is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), made of glass, steel, silicon, formaldehyde solution and shark. It is one of Damien Hirst’s most famous works: a 14-foot long dead shark in a glass tank. It offended a lot of people, but he said that it was to make viewers consider death when they wouldn’t normally. We don’t usually come face-to-face with dead things and all living things ultimately die.

I would recommend this fantastic modern art guide to teenagers and adults who usually look at art and say 'What the hell is this! Do people call this art?’

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