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Move Closer: An Intimate Philosophy of Art
Synopses & Reviews
How many of us have stood before famous paintings only to realize, with quiet panic, that we can't work out what the fuss is all about? What do we do-beyond just staring-to get the most out of art? How do we come to develop an attachment to individual works and find them fascinating? How do they come to matter to us?
While many teachers and critics have diligently directed attention to questions in art history, theory, or criticism, John Armstrong, in a powerful and original shift of focus, considers the roots of our personal attachment to art. Perhaps this most neglected aspect of thinking about art is also the most important.
Moving easily between the intimacies of personal experience and lucid, philosophical reflection, Armstrong acts as a sensitive and persuasive guide.
"With a strong pragmatist's leaning, Armstrong argues for an intimate relationship with art. In order to demystify the subject, he deploys key and colloquial terms, for instance: affection, information, and reverie. While information, the stuff of art historians, 'does not foster affection' for a piece of art, Armstrong's goal is to encourage reverie, an associative appreciation of art. In actively viewing a piece, a person can come to contemplate and then invest her or himself in art. With its fine color and black and white plates, Move Closer is pleasant enough, but it seems caught between lay and scholarly audiences. The pragmatist risks obviousness and Armstrong's argument, while intelligent and filled with worthwhile discussions of a variety of pieces, offers little that is new to anyone but the neophyte." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
About the Author
John Armstrong, born in 1966, is director of the Aesthetics Programme of the School for Advanced Study at the University of London. He is also an art dealer.
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