How to See

How to See

Looking, Talking, and Thinking About Art

Book - 2016
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WW Norton
A master class in contemporaryart by one of the preeminentpainters of our time.
How does art work? How does it move us, inform us, challenge us? Internationally renowned painter David Salle’s incisive essay collection illuminates the work of many of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Engaging with a wide range of Salle’s friends and contemporaries—from painters to conceptual artists such as Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alex Katz, among others—How to See explores not only the multilayered personalities of the artists themselves but also the distinctive character of their oeuvres.Salle writes with humor and verve, replacing the jargon of art theory with precise and evocative descriptions that help the reader develop a personal and intuitive engagement with art. The result: a master class on how to see with an artist’s eye.

Baker & Taylor
The renowned artist whose work is among the permanent collections at the Whitney Museum and the National Gallery describes contemporary art in simple language and explores how an artist gives form to an idea and the difference between inventing and perfecting ideas.

Book News
Salle, a painter and writer, provides his previously published essays from magazines and other publications to explore how contemporary art works from the perspective of artists, through those like Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, Amy Sillman, Christopher Wool, Sigmar Polke, Robert Gober, Albert Oehlen, Dana Schutz, Wade Guyton, Rosemarie Trockel, Vito Acconci, Karole Armitage, Marsden Hartley, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still, Urs Fischer, Jack Goldstein, Mike Kelley, Frank Stella, Thomas Houseago, Frederic Tuten, André Derain, and Alex Katz. He connects what artists do to the experiences of all people and considers what makes a work of art function, what makes it good or interesting, and its meaning. The book includes a section on classroom exercises and lectures, published for the first time. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Presents a series of essays on the artists, subject matter, and concepts of contemporary art.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2016
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780393248135
Branch Call Number: 709.04 SAL 2016
Characteristics: pages cm


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William R. Leben
Feb 13, 2017

It's nice to see a book on artists written by an accomplished artist, and a fine writer at that. The book is a collection of articles the author has written over several decades--which may be fine, since the content doesn't seem dated at all.

What's disappointing, though, is that the content is very opaque to anyone who doesn't have the images being discussed at hand or in mind. The final chapter of the book is a set of questions the author addresses to John Baldessari. The questions are not answered. So to end this comment, here are two questions for the author:

-What did you intend the reader to learn from reading your questions to Baldessari?
-How are we to understand your very detailed remarks about visual aspects of the work of these artists--which makes up a large part of the content of this book--without any images to look at, aside from the one the begins each chapter?


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