The Magic of Modern Art – The Book (Paperback or eBook)

(32 customer reviews)


A fresh, accessible approach to appreciating Modern and Contemporary Art.


Enjoy a free sample of The Magic of Modern Art.

Limit 4 books per order.
SKU: N/A Category:


In this highly engaging and empowering book, artist and innovator, Robyn Jamison, introduces a fresh, accessible approach to appreciating Modern and Contemporary Art. Working from her premise that the ability to appreciate this art has much more to do with clearing out what’s in the way than it does with accumulating information, Jamison systematically dismantles the preconceived notions that stand between museum goers and their natural affinity for all art. Once these preconceived notions have been dispelled, readers are invited to step into a new relationship with Modern and Contemporary Art.

From there, they are introduced to a variety of powerful, effective ways to access their innate love of art and explore Modern and Contemporary Art with freedom and confidence. “When I inquire into my own love affair with Modern and Contemporary Art,” writes Jamison, “I see clearly that when I am focused entirely on the art in front of me—setting aside judgment and cognitive thinking—that’s when I find myself profoundly moved and deeply satisfied.” This book provides readers with a tried-and-true process for transforming their visits to Modern and Contemporary Art exhibits into joyful, enriching experiences—experiences they eagerly anticipate, avidly soak in and never get over.

Also Available At

The Magic of Modern Art Book can also be purchased at these Retail Outlets.

Additional information

Weight 1.19 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 8.5 × .5 in


Book Type

Printed (Paperback), eBook (Download ePub format)

32 reviews for The Magic of Modern Art – The Book (Paperback or eBook)

  1. Meryl S.

    Robyn Jamison has written a book, “The Magic of Modern Art” that actually expresses her vision for the world. This book is a creation very much like a work of art. She wants to make modern art accessible to all people. All people… including those who think that they don’t like modern art, don’t understand modern art, or has some other opinion about modern and contemporary art. She has created a step-by-step guide for people to learn how to experience what different artists who use different media of art are looking to share with the world.

    This book needs to be in all schools, museums, and galleries as well as to be purchased online. It is the epitome of what a necessary must-have book is.
    It is such an honor to know Robyn and be a part of her mission for the world.

  2. Swapan Debnath

    I love your website an enjoyed and also you look beautiful and friendly,

  3. Otto F (verified owner)

    I have long been a fan of modern art. I’ve had many experiences where I enjoyed the art I was seeing, but there was this mystery about it. Sometimes I would experience a piece of art that would, in the moment I saw it, leave an impression that I knew would last for the rest of my life. Those experiences were unpredictable. I thought it might be the art that did it, but sometimes when revisiting the piece I would miss that experience and other times it would hit just as hard. That mystery was resolved for me when I understood the concepts Robyn presents in The Magic of Modern Art. The book taught me that my default approach to art was to “figure it out” and thinking about art takes all the juice out of the experience. Now, more often than not, my experience of modern art is magical. I highly recommend this book. Read it, take it to heart and experience the magic.

  4. John Handley, PhD, Lufkin, Texas (verified owner)

    Have you ever visited a modern art museum and felt out of your league, struggling to comprehend the artwork on display? If so, you’re not alone. The Magic of Modern Art: How to Love Modern & Contemporary Art by Robyn Jamison, MFA, offers a new and unique method of looking at art that can benefit anyone seeking a deeper art-viewing experience. After art school, Jamison worked as a security guard at the Fort Worth Art Museum (now the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) during the l1970s. There she overheard numerous conversations by visitors, comments like “My five-year-old could do that,” or “I don’t get it.” Over the next several decades, Jamison identified no less that 33 stumbling blocks she calls Counterproductive Beliefs that keep modern and contemporary art at bay, things like: “I’m not smart enough; I’m not sophisticated enough; I don’t fit in with the Modern Art crowd; or There must be some mysterious ‘something’ that I lack.” These are typical assumption we often make. The good news, according to Jamison, is those beliefs are all false. “The joy of art lives in your personal, unique experience of it. When it comes to art, there is no absolute truth. There’s no certain thing you’re supposed to get.” Her approach begins with unlearning beliefs that prevent you from being free to experience and enjoy art—period! In Jamison’s approach, you as the viewer are free to create a context for what you want from viewing modern and contemporary art. A sense of awe, wonder, curiosity, mystery, are all options for exploration. In other words, once you free yourself from the Counterproductive Beliefs that have kept you isolated from a true experience of art, you are able to explore art with a new sense of vision. You can be fully present with the art. The book has insightful and step-by-step exercises that will surely surprise you, and you just may fall in love with art you previously disliked! A highly recommended read.

  5. Jennifer H., Austin, Texas (verified owner)

    The Magic of Modern Art is an excellent tool for anyone that wants to fall in love with modern art. Before reading TMOMA, I saw art but didn’t experience it. After reading and practicing the tips on how to experience contemporary art, I find my experiences are more visceral and thought-provoking. It was a joy to read this book.

  6. Cynthia C, Phoenix, AZ (verified owner)

    One of my big takeaways from The Magic of Modern Art has been my ability to appreciate all kinds of art. Previously, so much of my relationship with art had been whether I liked something, and certainly whether I understood it. I recently had the pleasure of going to a contemporary art museum. As I walked through the museum viewing the art through the lens of the Magic of Modern Art, I found myself approaching pieces I previously would have never would have bothered with, and to my amazement I really enjoyed them.

    The distinction has carried over to other areas of my life. I have expanded my ability to explore and be in wonder. Since reading the book, I have become fascinated with fashion – the wild and crazy kind – garments I would never think of wearing! I still don’t envision wearing that kind of clothes, but I marvel at the art and design of them.

  7. Donna Fox, Wimberley, TX

    Robin’s book invites us to SLOWWWW down…. and fully enjoy the art!

    For most of my life, I have arrived at a museum, felt overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of art. and started walking quickly through the galleries, to avoid “missing out” on some of the work.

    But Robyn’s Magic of Modern Art Tour — clearly described in her book — invites us to slow down, select just a few pieces, and fully enjoy them. I am already finding this is a much richer experience.

    Leave the rush of your life behind. Prepare for some wonderful discoveries!

  8. Lorraine T, Alberta, CA (verified owner)

    This little square book is so cool. I love the tone and approach – a journey into my own thinking but embellished – which takes all I already love about modern art and gives me the broadest context to explore new art (and also even newly explore the collection I currently have on my walls)! It is so simple but yet a masterpiece. I have learned many important things – this book is an encyclopedia but no stack of heavy volumes is needed. Robyn Jamison makes her mission clear and brings us along in it, without being snobbish, negative or preachy. I am already a big fan of her, her art and this vision, and now I am more clear about how to kindly yet powerfully help others see the magic of modern art everywhere.

  9. Marjorie H (verified owner)

    Thank you for your beautiful and beautifully written book.

    Years ago, you and I went to a special art exhibit. I have no idea who, when or where. We walked in and there was a floor-to-ceiling painting on the wall in front of me. I have no idea what the painting was like because I only remember two things – the color red and an instant, strong sexual feeling. Really amazing and I still remember the experience after all these years.

    Reading the part of your book about entering the artist’s world gave me an inkling that what I was seeing/feeling is exactly what I was intended to see and feel. My unknown artist certainly knew what he was doing.

    Robyn, your book has made me realize how much more you can get from a painting if you open yourself fully to what the artist offers.

    Thank you again for a lovely experience.

  10. Robert A, Gross-Enzersdorf, Austria

    Wow! Robyn Jamison has hit it out of the park with this delightful book, which takes the exploration and appreciation of art to a whole new level. On each page, she unpacks all the discomforts art may have provoked and then pulls back the curtain on the possibilities of much lighter, fun discoveries available to everyone. Future visits to museums or galleries will be much more interesting and fulfilling once you have read this book for yourself. And while there, you’ll be silently winking at her and smiling at her insights. Highly recommended.

  11. Diego R (verified owner)

    I found the Magic of Modern Art to be a stimulating read on how to broaden the approach to being further exposed to modern and contemporary art. Especially as educators, artists, cultural practitioners, and people interested in the well-being of the general public – Robyn Jamison’s writings here assist us to deepen the way we can clear our minds and playfully sharpen our relatedness, linguistics distinctions, and focus when in presence of fine art. The most exciting part is seeing how her words of wisdom can be applied in museums, galleries, the classroom, the street, or anywhere where visual artistry resides. – Diego Robles; artist, educator, filmmaker, and writer

  12. Lori W (verified owner)

    Without any prompting or urging I am someone who loves modern art. In the past I have organized entire vacations to get myself in front of some modern art. Somehow in the distractions of recent years (becoming a widow, moving, COVID) I let myself get distracted from what is truly important to me in life.
    I picked up Robyn’ Jamison’s THE MAGIC OF MODERN ART, How to Love Modern and Contemporary Art, with great anticipation and drank it in completely. It is a wonderful book! Free of pompous significance which I’ve run into in other books, this book drew me in and reunited me with something I love and that has been missing.
    The book flows, it’s easy to read, and it is also entertaining. That is a lot of satisfaction from one book. I came away recommitting to my own growth and education in the area of Modern Art and I scheduled my first trip to the Seattle MOMA!
    My thanks go to the author Robyn Jamison for her contribution to my (and to thousands of others) enjoyment of Modern Art.

  13. W Tucker

    A milestone of a book! This book addresses one of the common issues that many people have with modern art. They just don’t have the methods of appreciating modern art. It’s so often that people resort to the “my 5-year-old could do better” response to modern art and just don’t have a method to understand and appreciate art. I think the author has done a great job in addressing that issue and then providing a method to look at and make it personal. Great book. Everyone should read it!

  14. Tony R, Austin, Texas (verified owner)

    The Magic of Modern Art is a delightful read. The author’s concepts around modern art are fascinating. Who would have thought it’s not necessary to like a piece to appreciate a piece? When I see something now, I think about what it invokes and not just how much I like it or don’t like it. My approach to art has completely changed. Great book.

  15. Renee M, art student, St. Paul, Minnesota (verified owner)

    In 2019, I fell in love with modern art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It happened as I stood in front of one work after the other, unhurried and with an open mind. After nearly three hours, modern art cast its spell on me. I was smitten.

    This method of being still with a work of art without judgment is developed in this approachable book. Author Robyn Jamison challenges us to be open, curious and receptive so we allow modern art to teach, inspire, and conjure something greater in us than what we thought possible.

    If you’re like me, someone who admired some artists but dismissed many more as weird, then buy this book. The Magic of Modern Art is an effective guide to discovering new ways of appreciating art and enriching your life.

  16. Ash S, Beacon, New York (verified owner)

    Robyn’s voice on modern art is unique and unparalleled. Through her tutelage, my partner and I visited an art gallery on one of our first dates, and not only was the date a total success, but we were also able to view the work with totally new eyes and leverage the experience to learn about ourselves, each other, and deepen our connection.

    If you are interested in deepening your relationship with modern art or simply with yourself, I highly recommend engaging with her work.

  17. Barbara La Valleur, Edina, Minnesota

    The Magic of Modern Art was a terrific eye opener for me. Full disclosure, as an international photojournalist, I’m someone who is more drawn to realism in art than modern art. Robyn’s book gave me a true appreciation for aspects about modern art that I’d never even contemplated before. Going forward, I will take time to view, learn and appreciate these areas of art. This book would be helpful in teaching modern art in high schools and universities. In fact, it would also be great for galleries to offer it as a way of understanding what they exhibit. The layout and design makes the book especially readable, too.

  18. Larry O, Sullivan, WI

    I think you did an excellent job and the finished product certainly is something you can be very proud of! I’m honored to have played a small part.

  19. Melanie V (verified owner)

    The Magic of Modern Art by Robyn Jamison, MFA, is very well written, easy to read and informative.  Modern Art is intimidating to me, but the writer teaches us how to approach each creation in a nonjudgmental manner. The author rightly points out many preconceived notions or prejudices about modern art. She explains how we should delve into our own thought process, examine such counterproductive beliefs and examine our own viewpoints to widen our horizons. She gives you permission to not like a piece, but encourages you to spend time with it anyway. This allows you to better understand yourself and the modern art piece that you are studying. It also allows the art to speak to you in your own individual way.  I enjoyed reading the book and I learned a lot about modern art. I look forward to my next visit to a gallery or museum.

  20. Jennifer J (verified owner)

    An excellent book … this is a beautifully easy and inviting read, and a lovely reminder that life, art and literature are all an adventure.

  21. JD Swiger

    I never really appreciated modern art before, but this book helped me understand the intentions of the artist and why they create what they do. I now feel more confident in my opinions about modern art and can appreciate it for what it is. Robyn Jamison is a great writer who has an incredible knack for making you appreciate modern art. I loved reading her book because she is so passionate about the subject and it’s easy to get swept up in her enthusiasm. She does a great job of discussing the different aspects of art, from the artists’ intentions to how they’re interpreted by viewers. I really enjoyed and highly recommend.- JD Swiger

  22. Farah J., Toronta, Canada (verified owner)

    An honest and thought provoking book.

  23. Cheryl B, Culver City, CA (verified owner)

    I love and highly recommend Robyn Jamison’s book: The Magic of Modern Art. This book with it’s chapters on Beliefs, Seeing Modern Art through New Eyes, Developing Art Savvy, and Curating Your Own Art Collection developed a great progression that helped me see and be with Modern Art in a whole new way.
    I used to spend my time looking at Modern Art with a Gladiator approach… thumbs up, I liked it… thumbs down, I didn’t like it. Or my arrogant approach of: “That’s art?” “Really?” “I can do a better job than that!”
    I didn’t reflect much on how these approaches limited my interest, enjoyment, and appreciation of Modern Art.
    Through this book my interest in observing the dimensions of an art piece has been sparked. I now have a vocabulary for observation… distinctions like the color scheme, the composition and medium, the path my eyes follow as I look at the piece, the mood and how I am left feeling as I take in the art piece. I am now also more curious in what it might have been like for the artist to have created that art piece.
    This book left me being much more open to all that Modern Art has to offer… Thanks Robyn!

  24. Debbie C, Black Canyon City, AZ (verified owner)

    Personally, I think this should be a text book for high school art class &/or Freshman art students. It’s easy to read & understand, it gives new perspective & nicely laid out.

  25. Joshua K, Austin, Texas (verified owner)

    Robyn Jamison has taken a subject that academics make hopelessly complicated and simplifies it in o understandable pieces. It is the sign that a writer really understands a topic when they can express it conversationally and not resort to the baskets of adverbs that put up screens to our understanding. Modern art cannot be explained away or put in a context that removes its mystery. That is its great strength and its tendency to irritate the viewer. It provides wonder, something that is missing from most venues of modern life.

    I could see this book first and foremost as a guide to the visual aspect of modern thought. If you are starting from zero and don’t know what modern art is, this is a great place to begin. It would be terrific as a textbook in a history class about the modern world’s well as introduction to a modern art class in college or high school.

    This is an accessible book that is honest about the essential aspects of looking at and enjoying modern art. The myth debunking section was particularly enjoyable. I highly recommend this book for anyone trying to understand modern art and its evocative power.

  26. Harold N, Houston Texas (verified owner)

    I never knew much if anything about art or modern art but that did not mean I was not interested as I’m a frequent visitor to our local art gallery and I’ve been to some of the world’s most famous art museums including: the Louvre, the British Museum of Art, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum (both in Amsterdam) the Vatican, the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Arts Museum the Menil Gallery, both in Houston, Kremlin and Red Square, the Sydney Opera House, the Smithsonian, etc.

    Those visits to all those museums were the reason I decided to read Robyn Jamison’s book, ‘The Magic of Modern Art’ to learn what I was missing. I missed plenty because I brought my rational mind to places where it was not appropriate. Learning that alone made her book worthwhile to me.

    Since prior to my reading, I had thought that modern art was beyond me, I lacked the mental acuity to grasp, never mind appreciate what famous modern artists were trying to communicate. My lack of brains was not the issue, the way that I was using them was.

  27. Linda G, Washington, D.C. (verified owner)

    The Magic of Modern Art. OMG this is brilliant and should be taught in every college Art 101!!!!

  28. Becky H, MFA, Tucson, AZ (verified owner)

    The book accomplishes its title’s goal, helping readers reach personal and meaningful responses to new and unfamiliar works.

  29. Rubi H, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada (verified owner)

    Pre Covid, my friend was showing me her art collection and in particular a piece created by Robyn Jamison. I was intrigued, so when she mentioned that Robyn was writing a book on Modern Art I asked her to source me a copy when it came out.

    My friend called a few weeks ago to say she had received copies of Robyn Jamison’s published book ‘The Magic of Modern Art’ and had a copy for me. I picked it up that afternoon and started reading it. I limited myself to a half an hour at a time, due to vision issues, though I kept going back to it every half hour or so. By midnight I decided I’d need to leave the rest for the next day. I finished reading it in the first 24 hours that I had it! I’m a voracious reader normally but this book, in particular, had me hooked. I couldn’t put it away.

    Robyn’s book is written conversationally. She’s speaking directly to me about a topic obviously close to her heart. I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say next. I am not a student of modern art so was impressed that she was able to bring it to me in a way that it was easy to understand without years of study.

    She was able to shift my perspective of modern art and create a new context for me. It was such a positive experience and an awakening of the need to know more that I called my daughter the day I finished the book and made a date with her to visit local galleries and museums to see more.

    This is a book that I’ll be rereading regularly to refresh my new perspective and revisit my counter productive beliefs. I anticipate growth and excitement in my cultural appreciation of all things creative. ¶ Thank you, Robyn, for taking the time to create the ‘Magic.’

  30. George K, Dallas, Texas (verified owner)

    In short, I find your book fantastic! I expected it to be good, but this book far exceeds my expectations. I think a book like this can really transform people’s take on modern and contemporary art. Is it possible to get this book into the hands of elementary school teachers? Perhaps they can instill their enthusiasm for modern and contemporary art to the next generation.

  31. Vincent F, MFA, Denton, Texas (verified owner)

    Wow! Great book! I believe many people will benefit from reading The Magic of Modern Art: How to Love Modern & Contemporary Art.

    In Part I, Robyn Jamison explains how appreciating art is in our nature and points out specific benefits of having a great relationship with Modern and Contemporary Art. She also realizes that many people don’t experience an affinity for this type of art. Those are the people who have the most to gain from reading this book.

    In part II, Jamison skillfully and entertainingly identifies and dispels many counterproductive beliefs that can truly prevent our participation with the artwork.

    In part III, she directs us to see Modern and Contemporary Art thru new eyes and new contexts. She empowers the viewers by acknowledging their personal experiences with the art are fully valid and important.

    She creatively and carefully guides the viewers with what she calls Magic of Modern Art Tours with step-by-step methods of experiencing art in a gallery or museum.

    Part IV includes a bit of information about art history, crafts, terminology, art criticism and the art market. In Part 5, Robyn Jamison effectively writes about how to curate your own art collection. Topics include choosing art for your home and displaying your art collection.

    This book has the ability of being a game changer for its readers.

  32. Marianne K, Vancouver, B.C., Canada (verified owner)

    I’m so impressed with your book. Everything about it. Your thesis, your writing, the quotes from artworld people, the art work, your art work, the book design. Everything literally. I’m going to loan it to my friend who is head of art education at the VAG. You should be very proud.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *