About the book
As a novelist, essayist, and cultural historian, John Berger is a writer of dazzling eloquence and arresting insight whose work amounts to a subtle, powerful critique of the canons of our civilization. In About Looking he explores our role as observers to reveal new layers of meaning in what we see. How do the animals we look at in zoos remind us of a relationship between man and beast all but lost in the twentieth century? What is it about looking at war photographs that doubles their already potent violence? How do the nudes of Rodin betray the threats to his authority and potency posed by clay and flesh? And how does solitude inform the art of Giacometti? In asking these and other questions, Berger alters the vision of anyone who reads his work.
'Polemical, meditative, radical, always original, Berger's essays are extremely wide-ranging' Geoff Dyer
'Polemical, meditative, radical, always original, Berger's essays are extremely wide-ranging' Geoff Dyer 'One of the most influential intellectuals of our time' Sean O'Hagan, Observer 'A wonderful artist and thinker' Susan Sontag 'Berger is a writer one demands to know more about ... an intriguing and powerful mind and talent' New York Times
John Berger Biography
John Peter Berger (; 5 November 1926 – 2 January 2017) was an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to the BBC series of the same name, was influential. He lived in France for over fifty years.
Early lifeBerger was born on 5 November 1926 in Stoke Newington, London, the first of two children of Miriam and Stanley Berger.His grandfather was from Trieste, Italy, and his father, Stanley, raised as a non-religious Jew who adopted Catholicism, had been an infantry officer on the Western Front during the First World War and was awarded the Military Cross and an OBE.Berger was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford. He served in the British Army during the Second World War from 1944 to 1946. He enrolled at the Chelsea School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design in London.
CareerBerger began his career as a painter and exhibited works at a number of London galleries in the late 1940s. His art has been shown at the Wildenstein, Redfern and Leicester Galleries in London.Berger taught drawing at St Mary's teacher training college. He later became an art critic, publishing many essays and reviews in the New Statesman. His Marxist humanism and his strongly stated opinions on modern art combined to make him a controversial figure early in his career. As a statement of political commitment, he titled an early collection of essays Permanent Red.Berger was never a formal member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB): rather he was a close associate of it and its front, the Artists’ International Association (AIA), until the latter disappeared in 1953. He was active in the Geneva Club, a discussion group that appears to have overlapped with British communist circles in the 1950s.
PublishingIn 1958, Berger published his first novel, A Painter of Our Time, which tells the story of the disappearance of Janos Lavin, a fictional exiled Hungarian painter, and his diary's discovery by an art critic friend called John. The work was withdrawn by the publisher under pressure from the Congress for Cultural Freedom a month after its publication. His next novels were The Foot of Clive and Corker's Freedom; both of which presented an urban English life of alienation and melancholy. Berger moved to Quincy in the Haute-Savoie, France, in 1962 due to his distaste for life in Britain.In 1972, the BBC broadcast his four-part television series Ways of Seeing and published its accompanying text, a book of the same name. The first episode functions as an introduction to the study of images; it was derived in part from Walter Benjamin's essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". The subsequent episodes concern the image of woman as a sexualized object in Western culture, expressions of property ownership and wealth in European oil painting, and modern advertising. The series, the first of ... Read full biography
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Edition Statement:||UK ed.|
|Publication date:||Jan. 13, 2017|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||London, United Kingdom|