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In this week’s blog Assistant Curator, Victoria Howarth, takes a look inside our Book of the Month, Will Gompertz’s What Are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye.

What Are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye
RRP £20 (10% off for Jerwood Gallery Members)

I have hugely enjoyed reading Will Gompertz’s book on modern art and would encourage everyone, from the most disinterested sceptic to those working in the field, to read it. In his engaging, richly detailed and entertaining prose, Gompertz takes a fresh approach to well-trodden ground. He has managed to make the book at once accessible, offering an introduction to those with no knowledge of art history, and at the same time astute, original and enlightening.

In his introduction, Gompertz makes it clear that this is not an exhaustive art historical work, but an exploration of the development of modern art that uses anecdote, analysis and flights of fancy to tell a riveting story. He approaches complex ideas and art ‘isms’ such as Neo-Plasticism, Fluxus and Postmodernism in a refreshingly straightforward and, at times, irreverent manner. There are over 78 beautiful reproductions, colour plates and illustrations throughout the book, and a handy map of Modern art that charts key developments from 1870 to the present day.

A number of the artists discussed in this book are featured in the current hang at Jerwood Gallery. Jake & Dinos Chapman, our main Foreshore and Ground Floor exhibiting artists, are focused on in the final chapter of the book, and Jerwood Collection artists Jacob Epstein, Percy Wyndham Lewis and Henry Moore feature in discussions of Futurism and Primitivism.

Jerwood Gallery shop is open whenever the gallery is open and don’t forget, you can visit the shop anytime for free, without visiting the gallery.

26 November, 2014
Written by Victoria Howarth