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Elkins investigates the various responses (including his own) to the Rothko Chapel, to Giotto, to Renaissance paintings, to the Romantics, to Friedrich, and to Picasso's "Guernica". These are in the form of summation of letters written to him in response to his question "Have you ever cried at paintings?" sent to previous students, art historians, and friends. His findings show that art historians in general have encouraged us to examine paintings as examples of technique, of historical settings, of schools of thought in the past: such academic dissection has replaced the individual response to the visual image. And fortunately for us the author concludes that the visceral response to paintings is more important than the cell of academic cold shelter.
For those of us who have committed our lives to bridging the gap between the painter and the public, encouraging everyone to go to the museums, galleries, schools, and churches to experience the indefinable majesty of emotional response to art, this little book is a godsend. Buy it, read it slowly, break down your own barriers, open your mind, and you will find validation of your inner artist. This is a "beautiful presence" of an artistic expression and we are indebted to Elkins for his courage in writing it.
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Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with this kind of thing being published. I would not have it "banned" or interfere with its distribuition. I just wish that someone had told me it's not for the squeamish.
If these kinds of things don't bother you, then it's worth the read.
Tied together with many personal anecdotes with flowing use of language, the book is an insight for those interested in post-structuralist analysis of idea, communication, and sight.
LESS because we are so often "blind" or unaware of what we see and the very NATURE of what we see and how we see at all. MORE, because so much rests on our ability to see AT ALL, especially in the late 20th century, and especially in our culture, which places such high value on sight (though, perhaps, less value on HOW we see or WHAT is seen). But, again, LESS, because we really don't THINK about what we see or *how* we see...
Mr. Elkins, an art historian-- someone TRAINED to see, if you will-- has done much thinking on the topic and theory of sight and what it REALLY means to see. I admit, when I first got this book, I was afraid it would be the sort of dry, academic drivel that one would need to plow through with a dictionary at one's side, coming to the end almost gasping for breath, "there!! Not so at all. Mr. Elkins has written an extremely entertaining, thought provoking book on something we all do every day, often for every SECOND of the day (and isn't dreaming a form of seeing, after all, in it's own fashion??), and done it without heavy emphasis on academia, abstract or unknown concepts, or the general feeling-- that I have had in other arenas-- that he clearly wishes us to believe that he is SMARTER than the average reader, and needs to prove it through the use of highly technical jargon or impenetrable metaphor. Again, I say, "not at all." This is a very engaging, thought provoking work that I would heartily recommend to anyone even REMOTELY interested in the ideas behind sight and what is (and is NOT) seen. We do it all the time, every day, from birth to death, in most cases. The least we can do is to listen to a fine thinker like Mr. Elkins and hear HIS thoughts on this complicated, fascinating subject.
Not so at all. Mr. Elkins has written an extremely entertaining, thought provoking book on something we all do every day, often for every SECOND of the day (and isn't dreaming a form of seeing, after all, in it's own fashion??), and done it without heavy emphasis on academia, abstract or unknown concepts, or the general feeling-- that I have had in other arenas-- that he clearly wishes us to believe that he is SMARTER than the average reader, and needs to prove it through the use of highly technical jargon or impenetrable metaphor.
Again, I say, "not at all." This is a very engaging, thought provoking work that I would heartily recommend to anyone even REMOTELY interested in the ideas behind sight and what is (and is NOT) seen. We do it all the time, every day, from birth to death, in most cases. The least we can do is to listen to a fine thinker like Mr. Elkins and hear HIS thoughts on this complicated, fascinating subject.
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RA has choosen this group because of the purity of their intent and makes himself available to them for questions about the Universe, the Creator, the dimensions, Karma, the law of One and any other material that might aid people in understanding universal truths that might be helpful for mankinds evolution.
The materail is very esoteric and requires some concentration. However, it is well worth the effort, as it is enlightening, very precise, accurate and informative. The explanations around the shift in dimensions we are about to undergo on the planet, that Ra defines as the harvest, are devoid of hype and sensation. Harvest is a process that all beings and planetary bodies eventually encur, following physical/spiritual law just as eclipses do or the seasons.The science of the harvest ( ascension) is explained in depth here as is the chakra system and it's role in Soul evolution.
Also extremely interesting the explanation of the polarization of entities into Service to Self orintated entities and Service to Others orientated entities and the implications these have in the ascension process and the roles they play within the bigger picture.
A really deep read and well worth the effort. I have read all four volumes and I am about to tackle vol 5. I thoroughly recommend it.
Guaranteed to interest students of forteana, metaphysics, and matters of the spirit... But, to those of you on the straight and narrow spiritual path, a cautionary note is advised whenever the possibility arises of engaging in "spiritual gossip" that may accompany the "true teachings". And said Goethe: "Thought widens, but paralyzes; whereas action enlivens, but narrows."
Hope I haven't confused you too much with this electronic "contact". Happy distorting.
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Despite the provocative title, Elkins has very little interest in transforming arts education. Rather, he wants to point to both the virtues and the pitfalls of critique-based evaluation, and to get both teachers and students to appreciate just what a mysterious and irrational process it is to attempt to teach/learn the studio arts.
The author is an insider speaking candidly for other insiders -- the audience for this valuable and intelligent essay may not be huge, but within that group, it will stimulate many electrifying conversations.
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However, what illuminates this murky essay is Elkins examination of paint on a surface. Included in this book are 15 color plates of telephotographic representations of some famous and not so famous paintings. It's here that Elkins shines a light on the process of putting color on a surface. Texture, Underpainting, Thickness, Brushstroke, Mixture, Sweat, Blood, Feces, Hair and more, are thoroughly deconstructed in these passages. AMAZING!! Who cares about the Metaphor? I'm a painter. I wanted more examination of painting. It's here, that Elkins gifts of teaching truely overwhelm the reader.
Maybe someday Elkins will write a REAL book called, "WHAT PAINTING IS." I think he'd have a runaway Bestseller on his hands.
Maybe if I bury some tubes of paint, a stretch, some eye of newt, and the red pubic hair of a menstrating woman in a stone house under a full moon and dig it up in 2 years, I'll have a representational masterpiece of an homunculus. HOLY COW!! I'M A GENIUS!!
GO BACK TO PAINTING, ELKINS!! YOU'RE UNDOUBTEDLY MAD!!
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