Tuesday, January 3, 2017
John Berger: R.I.P.
From the NYT: John Berger, the British critic, novelist and screenwriter whose groundbreaking 1972 television series and book, “Ways of Seeing,” declared war on traditional ways of thinking about art and influenced a generation of artists and teachers, died on Monday at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony. He was 90.
Read more here.
From The Bookseller:
The author and art critic John Berger has died at the age of 90. Berger was born in London in 1926 and began his career as a painter. He then turned his hand to writing, publishing poetry, journalism, screenplays and novels over the course of his career. His novel G won the Booker Prize in 1972.
In 2015 Canongate reissued his 1967 book A Fortunate Man, in which Berger recounted his time shadowing a doctor, which had been out of print for a decade. Penguin published his book Ways of Seeing and a spokesperson for the company said it was "honoured" to be Berger's publisher.
His editor Tom Penn, who worked closely with Berger for many years, said: "With John Berger’s passing, we have lost one of the great storytellers of our times, one of the most vital voices in British, European and international culture of the last half century. His work – sharply attentive, pungent, sensuous, constantly questioning – seems to share a secret with us, the secret of the human condition itself. It’s difficult to find words to say how much we’ll miss his warmth, his openness and his friendship. His work will remain our companion, inspirational and full of hope."
Adrian Searle, the Guardian’s art critic, said Berger was “a teller of stories, and alert to the complexities of all kinds of art-making and writing”.
“Dip into him anywhere – an essay on Courbet, on drawing hands, or Roman Egypt funerary portraiture – whatever it is, his subject is vivid on the page," Searle said. "His writing is filled with insights. That he trained as a painter gave him a sympathy and understanding of the act of making and its difficulties – rare among critics now.”
Berger died at home in Paris although the cause of death has not yet been reported.