Found Art Around the World
A Photo Essay
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We live in a world that increasingly questions the value of learning about art or art education. The emphasis, instead, is on career training, which will, we are promised, make us globally competitive and financially prosperous. Admirable as these goals are, though, you will not get closer to them by looking at the photographs in this book: Against all conventional wisdom, it is a book about art and how art can affect the way we view the world.
All of the photographs collected in the book illustrate one underlying theme: Art makes us see things we did not see before. Each image, on its own, depicts a rather mundane object or scene. Yet viewed in the right way, the image evokes comparisons to works of well-known artists--it becomes a piece of “found art.” In order to make this case, I associate each image with a particular artist and provide a short explanation for the connection it generated in my mind. Had I not known these artists, I might have never noticed the beauty in these rather plain subjects.
Who might enjoy the book? I offer these possibilities:
(a) People who enjoy a jolt of recognition when they see, for example, how a lowly fence running across a snowy field resembles a Christo installation. The more artists you know, the more often you may expect to have these pleasant surprises.
(b) People who are ready to look at the world around them with new eyes and to discover beauty in unexpected places. The book intends to sharpen the visual acuity of readers and to prepare them for this kind of experience.
(c) Students in art or art appreciation classes. But equally, if not more important are students unlikely to take an art class because they view art as the province of museums, something distant from and unrelated to their ordinary lives. This book is meant to bring art into the lives of those students.
(d) Teachers of art and art education. The book should make it easy for them to overcome the attitude shown by students who think art is only for those with the wealth to buy it. Instructors could urge students to study the examples of found art in the book and then tell students to take up their smart phones and head out of the classroom to photograph similar pieces of “art” they find in the world around them.
The range of artists covered in the book is broad. It spans several centuries and contains examples from various art movements, with an emphasis on modern art and the 20th century. I cannot assume that every reader knows every artist referred to--I therefore provide for each artist an external link to a web page showing a work or works by that artist.
*The author taught architecture at German and American Universities. Traveling and photography are more than hobbies to him—they are integral parts of his life.
This book is beautiful! And while I don't know all of the artists mentioned well enough to say that yes, the ordinary objects in the photographs do resemble the works of the artists referenced, I do know quite a few. Of the ones I know, I think the author has really caught some amazing resemblances. The photo of some plain red doors really does look like a Rothko and the splashes of fungi against gray rock certainly do look like a Pollock. Ditto for the flower and its resemblance to Georgia O' Keeffe's erotic blossoms.
At a time when art courses are being cut in favor of spending money on the digital classroom that may or may not prove worthwhile, this book really does make you believe that art can enrich your everyday life in ways you might not have imagined. It's a thoughtful and beautiful book that's worth much more than its price. Perfect for people who care passionately about art or for people who know little or nothing but would like to know more.
The Vision is a critical act; we see what we already know! Art, and critical sight are beautifully interwined in this book. The book is visually beautiful and a real joy for the reader.
While enjoying the beautiful pictures by the author, the reader explores what he/she already knows, or discovers new artists. In this duoble level, the book is not only sensitve but also very intelligent.