What is the role of art in modern society?
Is it made to entertain us, to teach us? Both? And what of philosophy? What relevance does it have to how we think and live? In Opening Gambits, cultural critic and philosopher Mark Kingwell puts forth an argument for the similarity between art and philosophy as forms of play, working at the margins of meaning and sense.
Featuring essays previously published in Queen's Quarterly, Descant, Harvard Design Magazine, Canadian Art, and Harper's, the book begins with general assessments of the art world and the relationship between art and architecture. Including lively critical engagements with artists such as Edward Burtynsky, David Bierk, James Lahey, and Blue Republic, these pieces draw out the philosophical issues embedded in the aesthetic experience of art. In the second half of the collection, Kingwell reverses the polarity, investigating philosophy as a kind of art form that is constantly questioning its own possibility. The two parts of the book are simultaneously separated and joined by a collection of images that feature the works discussed in Part One.
Written in Kingwell's witty and eloquent style, Opening Gambits is a thought-provoking analysis by a social commentator at the top of his game.
Praise for Opening Gambits:
"A writer like Kingwell is worth his weight in gold." - Books in Canada
"Few writers in Canada are better at rendering complex issues in such vivid, simple writing." - Quill & Quire