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Why a Painting Is Like a Pizza: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Modern Art
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Why a Painting Is Like a Pizza: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Modern Art

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  63 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The first time she made a pizza from scratch, art historian Nancy Heller made the observation that led her to write this entertaining guide to contemporary art. Comparing modern art not only to pizzas but also to traditional and children's art, Heller shows us how we can refine analytical tools we already possess to understand and enjoy even the most unfamiliar paintings a ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 13th 2002 by Princeton University Press
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Jan 13, 2010 Thomasin rated it it was amazing
I honest to g-d think this book should be required reading in high school or college. Not kidding. I think I'm going to blog about the book versus writing a review here, but suffice to say that Ms. Heller breaks down the inaccessible for her readers; she opens up a world that many of us had shrugged-off or run from before and allows to see why art--even the kind we think is ugly and/or confusing and/or ridiculous and/or "not really art"--is important and possibly not as far removed from the art ...more
What a great book! I have an informal background in art through my mother and grandmother who taught me some art history and appreciation of contemporary art in and around the museums and galleries of New York City in the 1970s and 80s. I think this book really clarifies modern art and how to approach it. The author has a nice writing style, and the examples she gives are well chosen.
John Senner
Nov 28, 2015 John Senner rated it it was amazing
A nontechnical explanation of modern art for the non-artist. She tackles the hard to explain pieces such as "White on White" and the 175 pounds of candy piled in a corner.
Rick Eng
Jan 10, 2008 Rick Eng rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
I was asked to help organize a gallery tour this spring because of my art history background. The focus are the art galleries that have clustered around Los Angeles Chinatown, contributing to the revitalization of the neighborhood. I need to find books to help me catch up on the issues regarding contemporary art and creative direction and issues facing artists today. Ms. Heller's book is a lucid and humorous approach to explaining abstract principles that are the basis of art created and art enj ...more
Steph O'Groove
I gave up. I don't want to seem too critical of a book I didn't finish, but the pizza analogy didn't really do it for me. I'm not an artist and will never claim to be, so I imagine this book is for people who don't assume a painting is like a pizza because they're both delicious. Zero stars not because the book is bad, just because it wasn't what I was looking for and couldn't finish it.
Mar 30, 2011 That70sheidi rated it it was amazing
Very excellent explanation of various types of modern art and what to be aware of when studying it. Also a nice section at the back of questions and answers so next time someone says "That's not art, I could do THAT!" there's a rebuttal other than "Yeah, but you don't."
Dec 18, 2013 Marcie rated it really liked it
Helped increase my appreciation of modern and contemporary art, which I already liked. But I wish many people who do not like it would read this book too.
Michelle Howa
Sep 08, 2008 Michelle Howa rated it liked it
Required reading for my fine arts class. Interesting book, but would rather just enjoy the arts (not just read about them). :)
Jan 08, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Liked it so much I bought it for my niece for Christmas!
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