Quick Reads: “What Are You Looking At?” by Will Gompertz

What Are You Looking At?: The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art

By Will Gompertz

DUTTON

If you’ve ever wandered into a contemporary art gallery with hope and left with a headache, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz may be your savior. His funny, straight-talking guide to the past 150 years of modernism contextualizes lofty art-speak—neo-plasticism?—using colorful anecdotes, Monty Python and Spice Girls references, and a master’s grasp of history. He’s not afraid to call bollocks on the art world, either. From Marcel Duchamp’s famed urinal to Damien Hirst’s dead shark, this book is an engaging tour of art’s most radical innovations.

This review originally appeared in our November/December issue of Mother Jones.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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