Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

Dimensions:
234 × 156 × 20 mm
416 pages
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781861893161
Illustrations:
151 illustrations
Published:
01 Mar 2007
Series:
Picturing History
  • £24.00

  • This edition is currently unavailable

The Destruction of Art Iconoclasm and Vandalism since the French Revolution Dario Gamboni

In January 2006, a man tried to break Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain sculpture with a small hammer. The sculpted foot of Michelangelo’s David was damaged in 1991 by a purportedly mentally-ill artist. With each incident, artists and 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 spectres of censorship, iconoclasm and vandalism that surround such acts.

Initially galvanized by the sweeping obliteration of architecture and art under the Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and eastern bloc countries, Gamboni investigated other instances of destroyed art and architecture around the globe, uncovering a disquieting and surprisingly widespread phenomenon that still thrives today. As he demonstrates through analyses of incidents occurring in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in both the United States and Europe, a complex relationship exists among the evolution of modern art, contemporary destruction of art, and the long history of iconoclasm. Gamboni probes the concept of artists’ rights, the power of political protest and the ways in which iconoclasm offers a unique interpretation of society’s relationship to art and material culture.

A compelling and thought-provoking study, The Destruction of Art forces us to rethink the ways that we interact with art and react to its power to shock or subdue.

‘well-illustrated . . . Gamboni brings together a great deal of fascinating information’ — The Independent

‘Erudite and entertaining, Gambonis book is an excellent guide to the outrageous in art.’ — Glasgow Herald


Show all

Dario Gamboni is Professor of Art History at the University of Geneva. He has written widely in the field of art history, and his books include The Destruction of Art (1997), Potential Images: Ambiguity and Indeterminacy in Modern Art (2002) and Paul Gaugin: The Mysterious Centre of Thought (2014), all published by Reaktion Books.

Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Theories and Methods
2. A Historical Outline
3. The Fall of the 'Communist Monuments'
4. Political Iconoclasm in Democratic Societies
5. Outside the First World
6. Iconoclasm and Multiplication
7. Free Art and the 'Free World'
8. Legal Abuse
9. The Degradation of Art in Public Places
10. Museums and Pathology
11. 'Embellishing Vandalism'
12. Reformations of Church Art
13. Modern Art and Iconoclasm
14. Mistaking Art for Refuse
15. Disqualification and Heritage
References
Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements
Index