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The Destruction of Art Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution

Synopsis : "Last winter, a man tried to break Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain sculpture. The sculpted foot of Michelangelo’s David was damaged in 1991 by a purportedly mentally ill artist. With each incident, intellectuals must confront the unsettling dynamic between destruction and art. Renowned art historian Dario Gamboni is the first to tackle this weighty issue in depth, exploring specters of censorship, iconoclasm, and vandalism that surround such acts. Gamboni uncovers here a disquieting phenomenon that still thrives today worldwide. As he demonstrates through analyses of incidents occurring in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and Europe, a complex relationship exists among the evolution of modern art, destruction of artworks, and the long history of iconoclasm. From the controversial removal of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc from New York City’s Federal Plaza to suffragette protests at London’s National Gallery, Gamboni probes the concept of artist’s rights, the power of political protest and how iconoclasm sheds light on society’s relationship to art and material culture. Compelling and thought-provoking, The Destruction of Art forces us to rethink the ways that we interact with art and react to its power to shock or subdue. [-Dario Gamboni-] ..."


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Paul Gauguin The Mysterious Centre of Thought

Synopsis : "French artist Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) once reproached the Impressionists for searching “around the eye and not at the mysterious centre of thought.” But what did he mean by this enigmatic phrase? In this innovative investigation into Gauguin’s art and thought, Dario Gamboni illuminates Gauguin’s quest for this “mysterious centre” and offers a fresh look at the artist’s output in all media—from ceramics and sculptures to prints, paintings, and his large corpus of writings. Foregrounding Gauguin’s conscious use of ambiguity, Gamboni unpacks what the artist called the “language of the listening eye.” Gamboni shows that the interaction between perception, cognition, and imagination was at the core of Gauguin’s work, and he traces a line of continuity in them that has been previously overlooked. Emulating Gauguin’s wide-ranging curiosity with literature, psychology, theology, and the natural sciences—not to mention the whole of art history—this richly illustrated book provides new insight into the life and works of this well-known yet little understood artist. [-Dario Gamboni-] ..."


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Iconoclasm "Contested Objects, Contested Terms "

Synopsis : "The word 'iconoclasm' is most often used in relation to sculpture, because it is sculptures that most visibly bear witness to physical damage. But damage can also be invisible, and the actions of iconoclasm can be subtle and varying. Iconoclastic acts include the addition of objects and accessories, as well as their removal, or may be represented in text or imagery that never materially affects the original object. This book brings together a collection of essays each of which fundamentally questions the meaning of the word iconoclasm as a descriptive category. Each contribution examines the impact of iconoclastic acts on different representational forms, and assesses the development and historical implications of these various destructive and transformative behaviours. [-Stacy Boldrick-] ..."


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Potential Images Ambiguity and Indeterminacy in Modern Art

Synopsis : "Ambiguity is inherent in images because visual perception is an interpretative act involving memory and imagination. Modern art has made this aspect of perception crucial to its relationship with the viewer. Potential Images, the first systematic exploration of this topic, considers those works of art that rely to a great degree on imaginative response. Dario Gamboni concentrates on the last decades of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries, during which ambiguity and indeterminacy became defining characteristics of art. He examines how work by Redon, Gauguin, Rodin, Duchamp and numerous others sought to involve the beholder and reshaped artistic communication. Drawing on a vast range of sources, Gamboni finds striking parallels in other realms of contemporary culture and points to the intense exchanges that supported this process of cultural transformation. Potential Images also identifies the historical antecedents of this appeal to the viewer, finally proposing a conception of art in which artist and audience occupy symmetrical, equal and even interchangeable positions. [-Dario Gamboni-] ..."


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Iconoclasm in Aesthetics

Synopsis : "Discusses the work of four influential philosophers of art: Heidegger, Adorno, Derrida, and Danto. [-Michael Kelly-] ..."


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Negating the Image Case Studies in Iconoclasm

Synopsis : "Why do people attack monuments and other public objects charged with authority by the societies that produced them? What do open assaults on images and artworks mean? Iconoclasm, the principled destruction of images, has recurred throughout human history as theory and practice. This book contains seven historical studies of the changing causes and meanings of iconoclasm and the radical transformations in the function of images it has brought about in societies around the world, from Ancient Egypt to Islamic India and Revolutionary Mexico, as well as Medieval and Reformation Europe. Scholars of art history, history and archaeology explore shifting definitions of art and the forms of representation in delineating varied forms of 'iconoclasm'. [-Jeffrey Johnson-] ..."


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Global Interests Renaissance Art Between East and West

Synopsis : "Looking outward for confirmation of who they were and what defined them as "civilized," Europeans encountered the returning gaze of what we now call the East, in particular the attention of the powerful Ottoman Empire. Global Interests explores the historical interactions that arose from these encounters as it considers three less-examined art objects—portrait medals, tapestries, and equestrian art—from a fresh and stimulating perspective. As portable artifacts, these objects are particularly potent tools for exploring the cultural currents flowing between the Orient and Occident. Global Interests offers a timely reconsideration of the development of European imperialism, focusing on the Habsburg Empire of Charles V. Lisa Jardine and Jerry Brotton analyze the impact this history continues to have on contemporary perceptions of European culture and ethnic identity. They also investigate the ways in which European culture came to define itself culturally and aesthetically during the century-long span of 1450 to 1550. Ultimately, their study offers a radical and wide-ranging reassessment of Renaissance art. [-Lisa Jardine, Jerry Brotton-] ..."


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The Destruction of Memory Architecture at War

Synopsis : "A decimated Shiite shrine in Iraq. The smoking World Trade Center site. The scorched cityscape of 1945 Dresden. Among the most indelible scars left by war is the destroyed landscapes, and such architectural devastation damages far more than mere buildings. Robert Bevan argues herethat shattered buildings are not merely “collateral damage,” but rather calculated acts of cultural annihilation. From Hitler’s Kristallnacht to the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in the Iraq War, Bevan deftly sifts through military campaigns and their tactics throughout history, and analyzes the cultural impact and catastrophic consequences of architectural destruction. For Bevan, these actions are nothing less than cultural genocide. Ultimately, Bevan forcefully argues for the prosecution of nations that purposely flout established international treaties against destroyed architecture. A passionate and thought-provoking cri de coeur, The Destruction of Memory raises questions about the costs of war that run deeper than blood and money. “The idea of a global inheritance seems to have fallen by the wayside and lessons that should have long ago been learned are still being recklessly disregarded. This is what makes Bevan’s book relevant, even urgent: much of the destruction of which it speaks is still under way.”—Financial Times Magazine “The message of Robert Bevan’s devastating book is that war is about killing cultures, identities and memories as much as it is about killing people and occupying territory.”—Sunday Times “As Bevan’s fascinating, melancholy book shows, symbolic buildings have long been targeted in and out of war as a particular kind of mnemonic violence against those to whom they are special.”—The Guardian [-Robert Bevan-] ..."


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Utopia The Avant-Garde, Modernism and (Im)possible Life

Synopsis : "Readings of the avant-garde have frequently sought to identify utopian moments coded in its works and activities as optimistic signs of a possible future social life or as the attempt to preserve hope against the closure of an emergent dystopian present. This volume casts light on the history, theory and actuality of the utopian and dystopian strands which run through European modernism and the avant-garde from the late 19th to the 21st century. [-David Ayers, Benedikt Hjartarson, Tomi Huttunen, Harri Veivo-] ..."


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Ritual, Images, and Daily Life The Medieval Perspective

Synopsis : "Medieval images and their content, intentions, and functions regularly followed specific strategies, rituals, and symbols of communication. This is true for religious as well as for secular images. One can recognize these strategies and rituals through analyzing the patterns that occur in the varieties of image construction, image space, image messages, and their perception. This book contains contributions by international specialists whose research interests concentrate on these patterns, the rituals associated with them, and the influences of these phenomena on the daily life of the image audience. (Series: History: Research and Science / Geschichte: Forschung und Wissenschaft - Vol. 39) [-Gerhard Jaritz-] ..."


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Universal Experience Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye

Synopsis : "Tourism, the largest industry in the world, is a significant force in contemporary society, with far-reaching economic, cultural, and geopolitical importance. Rather than seeking to represent tourism or travel itself, Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye considers art, history, and the social construction of places, spaces, and identities from the heightened perception of the tourist. Functioning as a guide book, a reader, and a souvenir, this lavish catalogue of the exhibition presents over 275 illustrations of thought-provoking artworks as icons and as tourist sites for exploration. A wide-ranging anthology of texts presents divergent routes and avenues through which to explore the symbols and cultural conventions created, deciphered, and disseminated by an increasingly mobile, international group of artists. [-Francesco Bonami, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, Tricia Van Eck-] ..."


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