Art … What Is It Good For?

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What is the function of art? An answer to this question has not been clearly defined yet. Art provides an account of its time but frequently also heralds change. Some use art as representation, others as an investment. Savvy contemporaries let themselves be challenged by art and use it to expand their horizons. Another option is presented by the philosopher Alain de Botton and author John Armstrong in their book Art as Therapy.

Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong

Not to worry, you don't have to be sick or in need of therapy to enjoy this very special work. Though it does pay to be curious and open-minded. As one is accustomed to Alain de Botton, he and his co-author connect many contrasting fields, starting at fine arts but ranging far beyond this sphere. He finds that architecture and design also inform the visual arts. All these creative fields of study are expertly suited to show us new ways to deal with our own, sometimes small but also larger, personal and universal challenges. Not at any time do the authors lose themselves in theory, which often makes many books concerning art unreadable. Different era, schools of thought and techniques only play a supporting part, as the main focus lies on ones own encounter with art and what can result from that.

What Are You Looking At? – The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art by Will Gompertz

The aim of BBC journalist Will Gompertz is just as grand as that of Alain de Botton and John Armstrong. He wants to forever change the way we look at modern art. On the one hand his book lends itself perfectly for the ingenuous „art-beginner“, who may be skeptical of modern (not to mention contemporary) art, but is open to reexamine his or her convictions. On the other hand, the veteran art connoisseur will also enjoy Gompertz’ insights as he looks to the great masters and their works with respect but also brutal honesty.

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