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The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Arising from the study of art history, this book presents a radically new approach to the problem of historical change. George Kubler draws upon new insights in fields such as anthropology and linguistics and replaces the notion of style with the idea of a linked succession of works distributed in time as recognizably early and late versions of the same action. The result ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published September 10th 1962 by Yale University Press
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Jul 30, 2012 Elin rated it it was amazing
I was first introduced to this book my freshman year of college, in 2002. It was so difficult for me to read that I didn't get through it for a few years. Eventually, I revisited it, and I'm so glad that I did. The Shape of Time changed that way I saw art. It helped me understand that ideas in art flow from one artist to the next, and that these ideas have a life span of their own. The beginning stage of an idea, or as Kubler calls it, form, develops quickly and unpredictably. The form is poorly ...more
Jun 21, 2008 Hooper rated it it was amazing
This book (like "Prints and Visual Communication" and "Understanding Media")provides insights into the very nuanced techniques of the human creation. It's a great antidote to the disembodied internet world we live in now!
Jeff Friederichsen
Jun 20, 2016 Jeff Friederichsen rated it really liked it
An art historian, a sociologist and an archaeologist walk into a bar…

…and this is the book they would write, an analysis and theory of the origins and lifespans of humanity's output of objects both utilitarian and aesthetic. A fascinating topic, discussed in a somewhat circular but self-reinforcing manner. Kubler's arguments and theories, although not quantifiable due to the extremely subjective nature of their topic, seem innovative and modern more than 50 years later. I read this as a layman w
Jun 20, 2016 Will rated it did not like it
Shelves: art-criticism
A shockingly stupid book filled with over-generalizations and uninspired ideas (although Kubler should get credit for provocative terminology like "the plural present"). I threw the book away after this particularly cringe-inducing moment of blather:
Today the artist is neither a rebel nor an entertainer... More lonely than ever, the artist today is like Daedelus, the strange artificer of wonderful and frightening surprises for his immediate circle.
Never mind the obvious self-contradiction: if ar
Mar 30, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
While reading this I went from being totally confused to discovering great insights into the study of art and culture. I sometimes felt the terminology the author used and some of his observances may have changed in the 50 years since the book was originally published. Well, sure.
If I had to read this all over again, I would probably read the conclusion first. It is an excellent summation of his position and the fluidity of art, style and culture. In my own case, it would have better prepared me
Sasu Kakir
Very academic; not an easy read - yet I enjoyed regular epiphanies through its high level/long perspective analysis of artistic and cultural endeavour and production. In the end, I compared it to exercise: grunting and sweating and counting down the reps/minutes/kms during, but high immediately after (occasionally during), followed by lasting health benefits.
Mar 01, 2009 surfurbian rated it liked it
Dry as a bone. Could have been boiled down to about 5 pages. But those would have been really good pages.
Jun 24, 2008 Linda rated it liked it
It was OK. A good read to brush up on methodology.
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colleggggeeee 1 5 Nov 10, 2008 09:06AM  
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