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Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin [Paperback]

Weschler
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 1992
"Robert Irwin, perhaps the most influential of the California artists, moved from his beginnings in abstract expressionism through successive shifts in style and sensibility, into a new aesthetic territory altogether, one where philosophical concepts of perception and the world interact. Weschler has charted the journey with exceptional clarity and cogency. He has also, in the process, provided what seems to me the best running history of postwar West Coast art that I have yet seen."--Calvin Tomkins

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Product details

  • Paperback: 215 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (1 July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520049209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520049208
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,170,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"And then when I came back" - Robert Irwin was recalling some time he'd spent in Japan about ten years ago - I'd taken one of those seventeen-hour flights from the Orient which really wipe you out. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Wechsler is a terrific biographer for Irwin. For while Irwin is himself a voluble and willing subject, Wechsler's insights into the act of creation and the journey of an artist augment Irwin's own insights in an important and illuminating way.
Having had no prior knowledge of Irwin and never having seen his work before, I still found this a fascinating book about creativity and the act of creation. I give this book as a gift frequently to those people who love and appreciate art and artists in all disciplines (painting, film, theater, photography, sculpture, pottery etc.).
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By ines
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really nice conditions and excellent customer service. The book didn't arrive on time so the company gave me back a high percentage.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deep book 7 Dec 2012
By s
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I am still reading and considering the book this is a short precise.Irwin has a unique and usual perspective,very refreshing Nd thought provoking for the developing artist
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book about creativity and the act of creation 10 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wechsler is a terrific biographer for Irwin. For while Irwin is himself a voluble and willing subject, Wechsler's insights into the act of creation and the journey of an artist augment Irwin's own insights in an important and illuminating way.
Having had no prior knowledge of Irwin and never having seen his work before, I still found this a fascinating book about creativity and the act of creation. I give this book as a gift frequently to those people who love and appreciate art and artists in all disciplines (painting, film, theater, photography, sculpture, pottery etc.).
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 9 April 2001
By James Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book completely ruined me. It so opened my eyes and mind that now I spend untold hours paying attention to the most minute details of my paintings. This book coupled with Josef Albers magnum opus "The Interaction of Color" has completely gutted and replumbed my senses.
The most interesting aspects of this book are the insights into Irwin's process and evolution. You can see his linear trajectory and the almost empirical methodology he used to create his work. Irwin's interdisciplinary approach to art confirmed and extended everything that I've been thinking about for the last couple of years. He helps push the artist away from thinking about paint and towards just plain thinking.
The first two sections of the book are amazing, but I found the third section of the book to be a bit tedious. The problem I find with most art historians is that they try to distill or make broad generalizations about what the artist was *trying* to do. The first two sections stayed away from this and mostly stuck to documentation, interviews, etc. leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. The third section however begins to try and sum up Irwin's contributions which is a horrible mistake. In much the same way that you have to see Irwin's work to grasp an inkling of what is going on, you can't rely on someone else's interpretation of Irwin's life's work. They will inevitably fall far short.
You don't need to know anything of Irwin's work to appreciate this book. Irwin is truly one of the great thinkers of contemporary art. His ideas are what grab you.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing 21 Feb 2002
By MJR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was an amazing read. Not only did it open my eyes to the concept of abstract art, but it opened my eyes to a different way of thinking. I highly recommend this book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read 12 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Whether you know Irwin's work or not, are an art afficionado or not, this is a great read for the curious and perceptually
aware.Weschler translates visual concepts into easily understandable language. His writing is clear and insightful and never falls into boring art jargon. This is no simple task for Irwin's work which is all about looking is not necessarily transferable on paper, but ultimately Weschler's writing does it justice. Weschler gives insight not only into the mind and heart behind this work but the personality that comprises Robert
Irwin. The book is like being in a restaurant and overhearing a really interesting conversation at the adjacent table so you don't resist the urge to eavesdrop and you stay and listen 'till the end.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best biographies ever 14 Dec 2002
By Felix Salmon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Robert Irwin is a wonderful artist, and this is a must-read for anybody interested in his work, or in his West Coast brand of conceptualism. But this book is also a fantastic biography in its own right - Weschler, who now works for the New Yorker, writes like an angel, and reading this book is a pleasure indeed. To say that this is one of the best biographies of an artist ever would be far too faint praise: this is one of the best biographies ever, period.
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