Cover image for Drawing us in : how we experience visual art
Drawing us in : how we experience visual art
Chasman, Deborah.
Publication Information:
Boston : Beacon Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
ix, 138 pages ; 22 cm.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
N62 .D73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A collection of essays which offers a delightful range of views on the role of art in our psychic, social, and political lives. Contributors include Dorothy Allison, Alfred Kazin, Mary Gordon, Dave Hickey and more.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This slim collection of short essays by writers, literary critics and art historians makes for an often enjoyable but ultimately unsatisfying collage of reflections on visual art. The most successful contributions are the less self-absorbed, such as New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl's meditation on the theft of The Scream, photographer Wendy Ewald's ethnographical approach to the role of photographs in the lives of Appalachian children and New Republic critic Jed Perl's theoretical musings on how "visual experience" has been marginalized by, in part, our inability to see art "as an experience that takes place in time." Playwright August Wilson and critic-at-large bell hooks discuss the centrality of Romare Bearden's work. Eminent philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto offers a cultural/political take on art and society, painter Laurie Fendrich attempts to explain "why abstract painting still matters" and the brilliantly offhanded Dave Hickey (Air Guitar) invites us to think less and enjoy more. But too many of the more intimate entries evoke a sense of d‚j… vu all over againÄhow art unifies and humanizes (novelist Dorothy Allison), how in the past art played a more central role in the culture (the late, great Alfred Kazin). (Novelist Mary Gordon fares better with "Notes on Pierre Bonnard and My Mother's Ninetieth Birthday.") The 15 piecesÄfew more than several pages in lengthÄhave the polish of magazine work and are easily read in bites, but they don't quite come together as a whole, or as a definitive look at the current range of visual art experiences. Foreword by Hilton Als not seen by PW. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As straightforward as its subtitle, this volume collects 15 brief essays describing the myriad ways human beings appreciate art. Don't let this thin volume deceive, however, for it is very high on impact in spite of its size. The tone is generally personal and accessible, clarifying the aesthetic issues involved. Critics, practicing artists, art teachers, and social observers all contribute their contrasting points of view. Most of the contributors, like Peter Schjeldahl ("A Theft in Norway"), bell hooks ("Art on My Mind"), Lucy Lippard ("Doubletake: The Diary of a Relationship with an Image"), and Arthur C. Danto ("Art and the Discourse of Nations"), are well-known figures in the art world. This book would make an excellent text for introductory art courses, yet it is a delight to read because it is so compact and personal. It is the kind of book that lingers with the reader because the essayists are so easy to identify with and because they summarize timeless art-related concerns. As has been said of many films, "I laughed, I cried." Recommended for public as well as academic collections.DSusan Olcott, Powell, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Hilton AlsPeter SchjeldahlAugust WilsonDorothy AllisonAlfred KazinMary GordonWendy EwaldJed PerlLaurie FendrichLucy R. LippardArthur C. Dantobell hooksJennifer BelleDave HickeyJohn BergerMark Doty
Forewordp. vii
A Theft in Norwayp. 1
On Romare Beardenp. 5
This Is Our Worldp. 8
The Art City Our Fathers Builtp. 18
Still Life: Notes on Pierre Bonnard and My Mother's Ninetieth Birthdayp. 30
Portraits and Dreams: Photographs and Stories by Children of the Appalachiansp. 42
The Art of Seeingp. 51
Why Abstract Painting Still Mattersp. 68
Doubletake: The Diary of a Relationship with an Imagep. 77
Art and the Discourse of Nationsp. 91
Art Is for Everybodyp. 96
Y: The Art Criticp. 105
Frivolity and Unctionp. 108
To Take Paper, to Draw: A World Through Linesp. 118
The Panorama Mesdagp. 125
Contributorsp. 135
Creditsp. 137