NEW YORK – John Berger, the British art critic, intellectual and prodigious author whose pioneering 1972 book and the BBC series it spawned, “Ways of Seeing,” redefined the way a generation saw art, died Monday. He was 90.

Simon McBurney, the British actor and a friend of Berger’s, said that Berger died at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony. Berger had been ill for about a year, McBurney said.

The author of criticism, novels, poetry, screenplays and many less classifiable books, Berger had considerable influence as a late 20th-century thinker. He consistently, provocatively challenged traditional interpretations of art and society and the connections between the two.

He examined the role consumerism played in the rise of Picasso in 1965’s “The Success and Failure of Picasso.” He claimed that cubism anticipated the Russian revolution in “The Moment of Cubism, and Other Essays.” He won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1972 for his novel “G.”

That same year, Berger captivated the British public with “Ways of Seeing,” a series of four 30-minute films. In it, he mined imagery for larger cultural discoveries. How women were depicted in art, for example, revealed much about a time period’s attitude toward gender.

“It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world,” he wrote in “Ways of Seeing,” which became a common curriculum of universities.


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