Title: Mona Lisa's Moustache Making Sense of a ...
Publisher: Phanes Press, New York
Publication Date: 2001
Book Condition: Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Gift Inscription, Signed By Author; 1890482900. Bookseller Inventory # 76418
Synopsis: In the eighty years since Marcel Duchamp drew a moustache on a copy of the Mona Lisa, the dissolving of cultural forms has intensified to the point that there is no longer an absolute, a “proper” form, anywhere. This generalized breakdown is evident in social and moral codes, in gender distinctions and personal relationships, in politics and economics, in literature, music, dance, painting, and architecture, in our concepts of reality itself.
Is there any sense to be made of this seeming chaos? And if so, can any single theory adequately account for all aspects of the phenomenon? Physicists and mathematicians have informed us that reality is irreducibly complex and plural, unable to be exhausted by any one system of description. Following their lead, Mary Settegast has explored several different ways of looking at the reality of dissolving forms, seeing it as the result of global consumer capitalism; environmental deterioration; the end of a cycle of time; the beginning of a new cycle; a shift in the evolution of human consciousness; and finally, seeing the dissolution of form as a cause for celebration.
Each of these six perspectives is theoretically “correct” in its ability to explain the breakdown, and each can be supported by the work of twentieth-century artists. Readers are asked to forego the impulse to choose which view they believe to be true and encouraged instead to practice the simultaneous holding of multiple perspectives: “Like the Cubist painters of the early twentieth century, who were among the first to recognize the error in a single point of view, we will be trying in these pages to portray our subject from all sides in hopes of capturing it whole.”
From the Publisher: In this beautifully illustrated work, with 32 full-color reproductions, Mary Settegast explores the meaning of Western cultural disintegration through the lenses of art, science, ecology, spirituality, and philosophy.
REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
“MONA LISA'S MOUSTACHE is a deligtful and insightful book. In this brief work, Settegast manages to give us a fresh and compelling overview of the postmodern sense of the world without the usual dose of nihilism and despair. Her book is in fact something of a celebration as she finds in the dissolution of form the emergence of a new form of consciousness, at once playful and open to the full richness and depth of the world. In her inviting style, postmodern sensibility even becomes the possibility of a spiritual renaissance.”—Robert D. Romanyshyn, author of TECHNOLOGY AS SYMPTOM AND AS DREAM
“Mary Settegast has written a lucid gem of a book, which challenges each of us to cultivate an openness to contradictory beliefs and a Cubist perspective of multidimensional seeing, so that we may better understand and cope with our chaotic, turbulent times. Her wisdom comes highly recommended.”—Suzi Gablik, author of THE REENCHANTMENT OF ART
“Welcome to the prismatic world, where what you see, believe in, and act upon depends on what happens to be lighting up at the moment. This is the world now upon us as brilliantly described by Mary Settegast. Modern art saw it first, and utilizing the creative imagination as a clue, this wondrous book paints six equally valid landscapes of culture and human life, challenging us to deeply appreciate that the soul of the world speak in multiplicity. All that seems to be breakdown—of beliefs, ways of knowing, tradition, the way the world is supposed to work—are also breakthroughs for those who let many world reveal themselves to imagination.”—Robert Sardello, author of FACING THE WORLD WITH SOUL
"Most readers won't be ablt to see their world the same way after they've read it."—John Briggs, author of FRACTALS: THE PATTERNS OF CHAOS
"Mary Settegast has created a rich tapestry out of six cultural themes from the modern era. She gives the reader a new perspective for our turbulent time."—Leonard Shlain, author of ART AND PHYSICS: PARALLEL VISIONS IN SPACE, TIME, AND LIGHT
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