However beautiful the later collections Portraits and Landscapes are, John Berger’s Selected Essays is still the quintessential Berger collection (brilliantly selected by the wonderful Geoff Dyer). All in one place are some of my very favorite essays period (not art history or political essays, just killer essays—great examples of short non-fiction meditations on various topics). “The Moment of Cubism” is a vital introduction to modern art and Modernism generally and contextualizes it in the experience of modern life. “The Suit and the Photograph” is a laser-pointed political analysis of fashion, photography, and class – “the suit is a symbol of sedentary power.” “Why Look at Animals?” is a brilliant analysis our relationship to animals and how it has been transformed by modernity—zoos emerge when modern capitalism changes our own lives and denigrates the animal with which we once lived into a spectacle. And that’s only three of them. Brilliant. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
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