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Disfiguring is the first sustained interpretation of the deep but often hidden links among twentieth-century art, architecture, and religion. While many of the greatest modern painters and architects have insisted on the spiritual significance of their work, historians of modern art and architecture have largely avoided questions of religion. Likewise, contemporary philosophers and theologians have, for the most part, ignored visual arts. Taylor presents a carefully structured and subtly nuanced analysis of the religious presuppositions that inform recent artistic theory and practice—and, in doing so, recasts the cultural landscape of our era.
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Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion and chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. His most recent book is After God, also published by the University of Chicago Press.From Library Journal:
In this compelling analysis of 20th-century art and architecture, presented from the perspective of Taylor's deconstructionist theology (as seen in his Erring: A Postmodern A/theology , Univ. of Chicago, 1987), the development of the art and architecture of the modern period is discussed in terms of a series of "disfigurings." For example, the abstract art of Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Reinhardt is seen as part of a strategy to express the Absolute through the removal of this-worldly representational (i.e., figurative) elements. Taylor is excellent in his detailed analysis of the philosophical and religious motives that contributed to the creation of the works studied. He uses the terms religious and spiritual in the abstract sense of the German Idealists, whose "theoesthetics," detailed in the first chapter, forms the philosophical backdrop for the subsequent chapters. This book covers much the same territory as Doug Adams's Transcendence with Human Body in Art ( LJ 10/1/91), though in much greater depth and clarity of analysis. Highly recommended for art, architecture, and religion collections.
- David B. Hegeman, King's Coll. Lib., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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