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ICONOCLASH: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art Paperback – July 7, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This massive catalog documents an exhibition on iconoclasm, i.e., the deliberate destruction of images, at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany (May 4-August 4, 2002). Edited by Latour, a Paris-based author and professor of sociology, and Weibel, director of the center, it is both fascinating and exhausting. The works included span art history from Goya to Duchamp to video artist Nam June Paik and more, while the contributors are an international collection of curators, art historians, and other academics. General readers will find the complexity of the language daunting, and only those sincerely interested will pursue the arguments presented here. But the questions raised-why is the urge to destroy images, in the name of religion or politics, so powerful? conversely, why is the urge to create images more powerful than iconoclasm? and how can we better understand the cycle of fascination, repulsion, and destruction that obsesses iconoclasts?-make for compelling reading. This volume contains so much more than the exhibition itself that readers may find it difficult to perceive the contours of the original, and the work is best understood as a standalone, far more than merely documenting the exhibit. For libraries collecting on art theory.
Michael Dashkin, PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The value of the book is that is pushes on boundaries."
Victoria George, The Art Book

"...Iconoclash...[reflects]on the power of images...and on their intimate role in religious practice."
Paul A. Soukup, S. J., Theological Studies

"A big book to browse in, with unexpected images and arguments at the turn of every page."
Svetlana Alpers, The Key Reporter

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 703 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (July 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026262172X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262621724
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,308,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Saul Boulschett on March 25, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In many ways this massive Yellow Pages-sized book sums up what I have always suspected about the visual arts in our time as such: That their greatness comes from the collective force of one-liners which are not all that arresting taken individually. This book really shows that the function of art in our time is that of a collective commentary on the Sutra of Art, and as such necessarily way more verbose than the original "sacred" text. Here all the eminently forgettable one-liner images made in the name of art, anti-art, art-taboo, and art voodoo throughout history---from all cultures--are gathered and presented in the full glory of their collective greatness.
But, do take note that this book is not an "art book" as such, and certainly not a coffee table variety. It belongs on your desk along with your dictionaries and encyclopedias. This is a textbook at its finest. The meat of this book is really the essays, with the images---many of them small but very clear-- inserted to augment the discussion, not the other way around.
So then what are some of the things discussed? A set of essays is grouped under a particular question, and there are some 12 plus questions that cue you in right away as to what is going to be discussed. It is like having a seminar program showing the topics to be discussed, time, and room numbers.
Some of the questions asked and responded to: WHY DO IMAGES TRIGGER SO MUCH FUROR? WHY ARE IMAGES SO AMBIGUOUS? WHY DO GODS OBJECT TO IMAGES? WHAT IS ICONOCLASH? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MODERN ART? HAS CRITIQUE ENDED?
What intelligent person could possibly resist the temptation to find out what people have said in response to these questions? I would be a liar to say that I have read through every single essay in the book. I have not.
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book rocks. I think that this is the most interesting book about the clash over Icons and imagery in modern day society.
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