Houghton Mifflin Custom Publishing
ISBN: 0-618-06671-3
I'll admit to being one of those unenlightened souls who compares Jackson Pollock's work to a road accident involving a paint truck. I'll admit a lack of enthusiasm for Andy Warhol's consumerism statements. But never again will I scoff that art, real art, stopped when the last of the great Impressionist painters put down his brush.
        Becky Hendrick has accomplished what I had thought impossible. Getting It is, as the preface ambitiously states, a crash course in "life appreciation". Ms. Hendrick identifies the prejudices that skew not only our ideas about art, but about ourselves and the lives in which we are engaged. Getting It, a slim and unassuming volume, engages the reader in a brief but thorough discussion of the fundamentals of art—color, form, perspective, positive and negative space—before tackling concepts integral to seeding an appreciation of modern art. Ms. Hendrick explains that all art is not about the viewer; post-modern art, in particular, is in part a response to cultural and political stimuli. Much as early critics of Impressionism simply had no frame of reference by which to judge the startling new art form, we are today still struggling to grasp concepts and perspectives that in the future may be as universally understood as the "art" behind a snapshot.
        But Getting It is more than a road map to design concepts and art theory. Ms. Hendrick opens a window into history and, perhaps most intriguingly, into how the evolution of art within a culture has in the past been a foreordaining suggestion of a state's overall health. Today, however, art transcends political borders. It may speak quietly of an ocean's soothing rhythms or aggressively of a war that envelops millions of people—and billions of minds. For, as Ms. Hendrick leads us to see, art is a beautiful equalizer. Where words fail, art speaks. It is patient, and will wait for us to return to it year after year, decade after decade, until a whisper is heard.
        Getting It is deceptively simple to understand. Ms. Hendrick's clean style bleeds an almost child-like enthusiasm for the subject matter. Read this as an introduction to modern art, as a statement about cultural icons of the past 75 years, or as a refresher course in basic concepts. Whatever your perspective, Ms. Hendrick will serve as a trustworthy guide. Getting It is highly recommended.