Why We Look at Art, What Happens When We Do encourages a new way of being with art by restoring to viewers the central role we play in our own viewing. Written by an art historian, it is not a work of art history and though it tells the truth, it is not exactly nonfiction. Consisting of brief meditations on key works of Western painting, it stresses the importance of experiencing art before it becomes a footnote to facts and it maintains that we miss more of what art is by not feeling than by not knowing. Each painting is discussed as a psychological event-one which is shaped by what we see and what we bring to the act of seeing. In this way, Why We Look at Art, What Happens When We Do reveals that experience is the forgotten condition of art appreciation.