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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of What Are You Looking At? by Will Gompertz, read by Roy McMilllan. What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz on a dazzling tour that will change the way you look at modern art forever. From Monet's water lilies to Van Gogh's sunflowers, from Warhol's soup cans to Hirst's pickled shark, hear the stories behind the masterpieces, meet the artists as they really were, and discover the real point of modern art. You will learn: not all conceptual art is bollocks; Picasso is king (but zanne is better); Pollock is no drip; Dali painted with his moustache; a urinal changed the course of art; and why your 5-year-old really couldn't do it. Refreshing, irreverent and always straightforward, What Are You Looking At? asks all the basic questions that you were too afraid to ask. Your next gallery trip is going to be a little less intimidating and a lot more interesting.

©2014 Will Gompertz (P)2014 Penguin Books Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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What are you looking at 150 years of modern Art

Would you listen to What Are You Looking At? again? Why?

Amazing book! I purchased it to help me with a modern art class and I loved it. I would recommend it,

What was one of the most memorable moments of What Are You Looking At??

I enjoyed the whole book.

Have you listened to any of Roy McMillan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Every chapter was interesting and informative.

Any additional comments?

Great way to understand what happened with art at this time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good book. Well read.

Informative overview, real knowledge with a good sense of humor. Reader delivers it perfectly. Well worth a listen for art lovers and those curious.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A seamlessly woven story of modern art.

This is a very solid introductory book into modern art (and even a bit of contemporary art). Gompertz provides a systematic, clearly explained (though slightly oversimplified - but that is to be expected from a "popular" book) history of modern art and mentions all the most notable names, movements, dates, and works. But all of this is integrated into a series of stories which make the book fun to read and the information in it just so easy to remember.

I would definitely recommend reading it rather than listening to it even though all the works are easy to visualize the way Gompertz describes them. You can always look them up, but this is just an unnecessary complication and gets in the way of really enjoying the book.

Even though the book is quite basic, which is to be expected from something that covers such a broad range of subjects, I think a good number of professionals (art historians, art history students, museologists, gallery-workers, etc.) could definitely benefit from Gompertz's simple approach to art and, more importantly, his uncomplicated way of writing about art.

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  • Nigel
  • Tauranga, New Zealand
  • 08-30-16

Nothing short of awesome

An amazing journey through a little over a century of art and artists. Fascinating insights into the gamut of modern art movements. Detailed analysis of many different pieces of art. All built into a magnificent synthesis of the how the big picture flowed through history. I really enjoyed this book and heartily recommend it to anyone with one or more artistic bones in their being.

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Good read for any level of art knowledge

Read this to refresh my knowledge of art, was very easy to listen to. Strongly recommended!

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Really good! Strongly Recommended

The book gives a plain full landscape of Art to better understand it! It reminds me what I studied when I was a fresh man in my first year of university.

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An insightful listen

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and highly recommend it.

I was a little sceptical as to how an art book would go as an audio book but as I have a bit of an art background I thought why not. So glad I did. Will covers in detail the movement and inspiration of the various art movements from the impressionists to today. Insightful, funny and a great performance by Roy McMillan. I did stop the book at times to google the various artworks he described but I found that did not impact on my enjoyment at all.

Five stars without a doubt.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • douglas
  • 09-16-16

Its a great listen. Intelligent and engaging.

Its a great example of an audio text that is well read, intelligent with a good central voice that is keen to teach the history of modern art to all without being too light and poppy or too wordy and heavy. perfect balance. I'll be listening to this again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan Pink
  • 10-30-17

What a great journey

I have dabbled in visiting modern art for the last decade or so just because i like the way it seems to communicate ideas without words....I found this book gives it’s a framework and context, so the enjoy it more. Loved it

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  • Marwan
  • 04-23-17

great book

excellent and easy explanation of the history of art.....gave me a different prespective on how to look at art and lots of ideas....ill look for the other boom from the same author

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  • Ms. Louise Knight
  • 01-16-17

Brilliantly engaging

A crash course in art history which will enhance my future viewing experiences - beautifully read, and I had no concentration problems, often a drawback of audio books. As a primary school teacher I imagine it will also enhance my children's art education experience as I can now claim to know the a little more than just what I like.

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  • david
  • 11-16-16

Wonderful

A very enjoyable listen on a fascinating subject told with clarity, insight and humor. Really very good.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 04-04-16

A wonderful background.

What did you like most about What Are You Looking At??

Very informative, interesting and although quite academic I found the book entertaining and easy to follow.

What was one of the most memorable moments of What Are You Looking At??

Har to say but I learnt something new or had further insight into almost every area of modern art covered.

Have you listened to any of Roy McMillan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I haven't but based on this book I'd be happy to seek out his other performances.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No for to long and in-depth but it remains a book I'd be happy to play in the background over again

Any additional comments?

Thank you Will Gompertz

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  • Coco the Coo
  • 07-22-15

Listen to words and look at pictures! Perfect

I really enjoyed looking at art on my iPad and listing to Roy read this book.
An unusual experience for this avid audible fan.
I really recommend it

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  • Mr. Damon G. O'Connell
  • 05-14-15

Informative book... but no extra material

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This is an enjoyable book. But it is marred by no pdf of images.

A document with click-able web links would of been very helpful.

The narrator does however read out web links to images. Typing out long web addresses or running searches disrupts the audio experience.

What about Roy McMillan’s performance did you like?

Roy Mcmillans performance is excellent.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

This would make a good film.

Any additional comments?

A compendium of hot links to the images would make it an excellent book.

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  • John W
  • 03-28-15

strong overview of recent art history

well narrated and well connected story of recent developments in art from impressionism onwards. well worth a listen. very entertaining.

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  • Stephanie
  • 01-27-16

Fascinating

A really great summary of this period of art and history. Really good as an introduction, or as a refresher. Well read and engaging. Loved it.

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  • SYLVIANNE
  • 09-18-15

brilliant, educational, entertaining, insightful

brings all the important transformative artists & movements of the last 150 years to life