There are passages of charm ... On the whole, however, the analysis and turns of phrase are not particularly profound or satisfying ... See What You’re Missing belongs loosely to the 'last line' genre; that is, any book, play or film in which the spirit of the work’s title is channeled into its concluding utterance or phrase ... A single throwaway line may be necessary. Arrayed one after another, these maxims begin to grate ... Gompertz is enthusiastic and open-minded, yet he rarely surprises.
Every short chapter, mixing a little bit of biography with an examination of an artwork, offers a tidy lesson in not just getting more from art, but more from life itself ... This is a book aimed unapologetically at the casual gallerygoer, and Gompertz wastes little time on elaborating context or investigating nuance ... This breezy approach is reflected in Gompertz’s writing. He is determined to be matey rather than professorial in his approach. As a result, he rarely sidesteps a cliché and frequently comes up with formulations that judder rather than simply jar ... Disarmingly, however, Gompertz will then write a lucid and revealing passage ... It is in such segments that the book’s theme truly emerges and the idea of artists’ exceptionalism moves beyond lip service and is given heft.