OC Book Club Recommends: Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Ways of Seeing is an essay on European aestheticism, where John Berger argues and critically provokes readers & viewers to think beyond the structures created by the European painters, critics and aesthetes.
In this essay, not only do the readers from the non-artistic backgrounds get a critical peek into the art world but trained artists too are presented with a fresh perspective. The essay pushes all of its readers to view artworks through a socio-political lens by talking about, for instance the misogyny in a few of them, ideas of nudity and beauty, and de-sexualizing being in the nude. Paintings are talked about as conversation bubbles between the viewers and the artist - both trying to find meaning within it.
Learning and unlearning the rhetoric of art and aesthetics is an exercise many individuals must participate in but most essentially this essay is proven to be a timeless guide for artists, to remind them of the power their art holds and the way their art, inevitably, begins to define them.