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Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions Paperback – April 28, 1994

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415908931 ISBN-10: 0415908930 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


. . . Dubin has impressively documented a decade's developments, until now chronicled mostly in bits and pieces. His facts are well researched and marshaled; he writes with a sense of historical background, and he has all the players knowledgeably pegged. His account, for instance, of the feckless John Frohnmayer, the embattled former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, trapped in the pressure cooker that the job has become, is masterly. And as a map of the minefields that beset artists who would venture beyond the boundaries of conventional taste, this book is important. -- New York Times Book Review
Dubin's new book . . . is a highly readable, scholarly and compelling case against limiting expression. -- New City Times
[Dubin] recaps the furor raised by such well-publicized works as David K. Nelson's inflammatory portrait of late Chicago mayor Harold Washington in women's underwear, Robert Mapplethorpe's homoerotic photographs, and Andres Serrano's `blasphemous' Piss Christ. . . . Accessible and paced with page-turning immediacy--an excellent overview of what happens when the avant-garde art world meets the conservative right. -- Kirkus Reviews
. . . Arresting Images provides a fresh look at the social, political and psychological forces influencing the American art world today. Recommended. -- Library Journal
A thoughtful, comprehensive survey of our ongoing culture wars. Dubin interweaves lively narrative of bitterly fought censorship battles with provocative exploration of the social and psychological forces at work. -- Marjorie Heins, Director and Staff Counsel, Arts Censorship Project, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
With exemplary clarity and insight, Steven Dubin assesses the growing maelstrom over `correct' art, censored art, and contentious art. Essential reading for anyone interested in these debates and controversies, and an important contribution to the sociology of the arts. -- Judith R. Blau, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
It is very good to have this thoughtful sociological approach to balance the mass of books by critics and philosophers. -- Choice
Arresting Images is at once a timely inventory of the social resonance of art and an illumination of the forces that seek to limit the range of expression in the putative heartland of democracy. With its crisp prose and enormous scope, Dubin's book will prove an effective resource in support of informed public discussion over the direction of art and society. -- Randy Martin, Pratt Institute
Steven Dubin's book should be read by everyone and anyone who follows the weft and warp of the political weave as it winds through the nasty carnival of late twentieth-century America. -- Chicago Artists' News
Dubin's detailed and finely nuanced study is vital to an understanding of why certain artworks have becomeso controversial in recent years . . . this is a major contribution to the burgeoning field of cultural studies, by one of the sharpest observers of the current scene. -- Judith H. Balfe, City University of New York Graduate Center
Arresting Images places recent art controversies in their social setting. In Dubin's work, we see artists speaking out or questioning their world through their images, while politicians and other groups seek to protect their version of what is respectable. -- Free Expression, A Quarterly for the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
...the kind of analysis we've needed for some time, namely a macro-level examination of recent art-political troubles that would help us understand the disparate events of the period as a whole. -- Mitchell Stevens, Art in America
A comprehensive critical account of censorship and political alliance. -- High Performance
Dubin has evolved into one of the country's most eloquent and forceful advocates of open expression. -- New City Times
Drawing upon extensive interviews, a broad sampling of media accounts, legal documents and his own observations of important events, Steven Dubin surveys the censorship issues surrounding visual art, pornography and film, as well as artistic upstarts such as video and performance art. He examines both the nature of the art work which disarms its viewers and the social reaction to it. Combining the eye of an aesthete and the rigor of a social scientist, Dubin offers provocative insights into contemporary society and politics. -- Canadian Journal of Communication, V20, 1995

About the Author

Steven C. Dubin is Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York, Purchase, where he directs the Social Sciences and the Arts program. He is the author of Bureaucratizing the Muse: Public Funds and the Cultural Worker.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415908930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415908931
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dubin presents controversy between the art world and the political and religious realms in a way that is objective and enlightening. A few of these readings, mainly the chapters on Andres Serrano and Robert Mapplethorpe, were assigned in a "Contemporary Art in America since 1945" Art History class I took last year. I found this information incredible and I believe it has a poignant place in our history. The discussions that these works generated are amazing and says a great deal about the status of art in our society and the politics unavoidably surrounding it in American contemporary culture.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
How did so many "shocking" photographers and performance artists become wildly famous (albeit, underpaid) towards the end of the Reagan era? By pissing off religious and polical leaders, that's how! Tedious in places, but rewarding overall.
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