Ways of Seeing

John Berger and others

Read January 2003

An odd collection of essays on art and materialism. There is some good content here. He summarizes the important arguments of Walter Benjamin. His critique of oil painting is provocative. He explicates differences between journeymen and geniuses that a museum habitue notices but museums rarely highlight. Thus, some of his criticisms of the custodians of Art ring true, as does his analysis of the attitudes of the lightly-blue collar. But amidst all this is some ranting and much dicsursion about sexism, capitalism and objectification. In particular, he makes it difficult to agree with his individual observations without buying into his framework. Perhaps this book was more sensational when it first appeared, but the contemporary reader can't help feel rather blasé.