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Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction
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Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #83)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  263 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given topic. ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published 2007 by Oxford University Press (first published 2003)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #83), Cynthia A. Freeland

Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good primer in art theory. The depth of the argument is limited by the length of the book, but the author covers a wide field and has chosen some very interesting examples to build her arguments around. I found it to be a very helpful exploration of many artistic theories and concepts, and I feel better placed to formulate my own views and opinions on types of art that previously I felt bemused by. The references and further reading suggestions will be useful when seeking to learn more ab ...more
Robert Boyd
You won't get what you're expecting when you read this book. At least, I didn't. I was expecting a summary of the mostly French theory that has influenced thinking about art in the U.S. over the past few decades, along with certain Anglo-American followers. I was expecting October magazine for beginners. But Freeland takes a much more expansive view, looking at art theory from Plato forward. So Foucault and Baudrillard are mentioned, but so are Hume, Kant, Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Nietsche, Jo ...more
Ali Bagheri
اگر هنر را چیزی بدانیم و برای توصیف آن تمثیل سرزمین ناشناخته را بپذیریم، از آنجایی که داشتن راهنما این روزها امری دشوار است، برای پیدا کردن راه و بی هدف قدم نزدن، استفاده از کتاب هایی که تصویری مبهم، آن طور که نقشه ها در بیابان برایمان فراهم می کنند، نزدیک ترین انتخاب است.
کتاب «نظریه هنر» حتی با در نظر گرفتن بی حوصلگی خواننده، چندان بلند نیست و با توجه به دشوار بودن انتقال مفاهیم هنر در قالب نوشته و ترجمه، به نظرم باید از این موضوع خوشحال بود. اشارات جزیی و اسم بردن از چند فیلسوف و منتقد و هنرمن
Max Maxwell
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Excellent introduction to art theory, divided into chapters dealing with a certain topic and how it relates to art. For example, you get a chapter on money, and digressions on Damien Hurst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living and van Gogh's Irises, and a chapter on women in art (my favorite chapter) with digressions on Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills and the Gorilla Girls. It also explains Serrano's Piss Christ quite well, and has a general introduction involv ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
Read for school.

A basic overview of the art world up until 2008. Worked as a nice repetition of what's been on the curriculum so far, with some unique inclusions of art examples. Freeland is also more open about her view upon art-history's lack of women. Though that's nothing new and surface-level like the rest of the book (but in so few pages, I suppose that's to be expected on such a broad field), it was included without being overtly political. The most interesting aspects, I found to be the
Ed Hatfield
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I know these are introductions but I think the tone of this one is lower than some of the other VSI's. Whilst there are some very strong chapters and theories outlined (some of the best writing is Chapter 7 about technology and changing relations to art, as well as the discussed definitions of art) I feel that there are a lot of very open ended questions left hanging - not left to be explored but mentioned and then tossed aside. This detracted from the feeling that this was purposeful and focuse ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: phd-studies
Renewed my faith in Oxford scholars and their ability to have intelligent things to say about wide ranging and intriguing topics. It helped me get into Freeland’s train of thought as she refers to each chapter and their uncovering of works of art from around the world as a virtual tour. It may all be a handy metaphorical device, yet she reveals how virtual reality technology would be the game-changing art media, twelve years ahead of her time! Many of the artists, world renowned and niche market ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
As the title says. Very well written, clear and highly informative. If you (like me) have no real notion about art theory, this is an excellent place to start. It made me curious to know more about the subject. I read this in combination with John Berger's Ways of Seeing, recommended. It's the fast-track way to becoming the smart all-knowing art critic who will impress your friends on visits to the museum - without actually having to study for it.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: vsi
Freeland takes us through a whirlwind tour of art and its various explanatory theories. This was a highly enjoyable read, and one which absorbs easily. However, depth was sacrificed for breadth and engagement, but Freeland still does an admirable job for a Very Short Introduction.

[Review #1 - 13/07/17.]
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very good introduction to art theory. It is accessible, with good, clean prose and ideas presented in ways that a total beginner could understand. Many of the ideas within it have made me think, which is always a good thing.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a great intro to art theory. I'm not sure what I expected but I was disappointed the ideas were shallow and uninteresting. If you are starting from scratch this is a good beginning.
Betsie Bush
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book covered a wide range of topics that I hadn't thought deeply about before. It also covered many different types of art in its examples, which was refreshing.
I am not sure what happened here - another victim of my current problems with non-fiction. I was really enjoying it, it seemed to be one of the better Very Short Introductions, highlighting few points of interest, but, after not picking it up for over a month, I put it back on the shelf.
Sep 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I am an art student, and though I know some art theory and history already I thought I should try and get an overview, and this book did that to some extent - it raised some points I hadn't been exposed to before, such as different theorists' views on interpretation of art etc. At first I thought the approach was too focused on artists and specific examples, like 'Piss Christ', but as I progressed with it more interesting ideas to do with theory emerged. I enjoyed the chapter that discussed 'the ...more
Marita Mazanishvili
Jun 06, 2015 rated it liked it
ყველაზე კარგი, ალბათ, რაც ჰქონდა ამ წიგნს ციტატებია. ტოლსტოის შეხედულებები ხელოვნებაზე, როგორც ემოციის გამოხატვაზე, ფუკოს მსჯელობები ხელოვნების ინტერპრეტაციაზე (ამ ნაწილს სიამოვნებით წავაკითხებდი ფილოლოგებს, რომლებიც ყველაფერში იმაზე მეტს ხედავენ, ვიდრე ნამდვილად არის) და ფემინისტური პასუხი იმაზე, თუ რატომ არ არსებობენ მიქელანჯელოსა და პიკასოს ქალი ხელოვანი ეკვივალენტები. ძალიან დამაბნია იმან, რომ ავტორი ახსენებს ძალიან ბევრ უცნობ ვინმეს და რამეს, რაც საერთოდ არ მქონდა გაგებული, და მაგ მომენტში ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: art students, dealers, buyers, everyone
“Art Theory” is one of a series of short introduction books destined for those with a budding interest in art as a new topic, though it is also an excellent little refresher course for those already practicing in the field.
More or less every aspect of art is covered here, from what art is, to the value of art in society, to possible clues for the interpretation of art, and even the obstacles put in the way of female artists, and their battle to get on the same footing as their male counterparts
Daniel Wright
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Though the title promised to be rather dreary, this turned out to be a very well-written survey of a wide range of philosophical topics related to art of all kinds. The author does have a tendency towards crass generalisations or unsupported statements (such as the claim, early on, that Kant was a devout Christian, a highly debatable proposition at best), and though she succeeds in endeavouring to be broad-minded and generous, this sometimes comes across as a little patronising. In any case, thi ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Its not a hard read. But I had expected more than that.... for me except chapters 4 and 5, the other chapters all have something worth reading in them, you get to learn something about art and its theory. Generally speaking, it has much information of its topic for somebody who is new in this field, but you wont get deeper in it, which is what disappointed me of this book.
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: textbooks, reference, art
Very interesting read but the final chapter (Digitizing and disseminating) is quite dated in terms of the terminology used. Picky of me I know, because any printed reference to the Internet dates fast.
Tùng Lâm
a good introduction
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
прыгает с одной темы на другую, ничего толком не объясняя, - то Хёрст, то Шартрский собор, то Вагнер, то снова Хёрст, а обещанных теорий мало и мутно
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
a fun little peak into the art theory. Easy to read!
David Maixner
Jul 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: knihovna-umeni
prilis omezeny pohled, omezena temata, dost feministicky napsane
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Published in 2001, not 2007.
Sep 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Just about done. This is a nice primer.
Scott Roberts
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arts
Art has got to be my most favourite subject of all time.
rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2011
Victorine Van alphen
rated it it was ok
Sep 16, 2012
Rachel Lige
rated it liked it
Jan 19, 2017
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