Item description for A Broken Beauty by Theodore L. Prescott...
"A Broken Beauty" reproduces recent artworks by fifteen North American postmodern artists who explore nontraditional notions of beauty in the human body.
These powerful, haunting works introduce brokenness physical, mental, and spiritual into their renderings of human figures. Bearing witness to the surprising beauty found in moments of suffering, loss, and injury, they turn Western ideas of beauty on their head and inside out. In variously striking and often moving ways these works challenge viewers to contemplate the body's capacity for beauty despite the brokenness that characterizes the human condition.
In addition to exquisite color reproductions, the book contains five informative essays on art and religion by respected art historians and curators. Theodore Prescott and Timothy Verdon write about the meaning of human embodiment and its role in the creation of art. Lisa deBoer explores the human figure as expressed in Northern Renaissance art. Gordon Fuglie contributes two essays, one on shifting attitudes about beauty during the past century and one that reflects in depth on the message of the art found in "A Broken Beauty."
Also serving as the exhibit catalog for "A Broken Beauty: Figuration, Narrative, and the Transcendent in North American Art," a show with scheduled stops in Canada and the United States, this volume not only helps people see and think afresh about issues of human concern but also offers a new, beatific vision of hope a badly needed virtue in our troubled times.
Featured artists: Gabrielle Bakker, Stephen De Staebler, Gaela Erwin, Erica Grimm-Vance, Richard C. Harden, Bruce Herman, Edward Knippers, Timothy Grubbs Lowly, Mary McCleary, John Nava, David J. Robinson, Joel C. Sheesley, Melissa Weinman, Patty Wickman, Jerome Witkin
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 12.3" Width: 9.3" Height: 0.7" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2005
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 0802828183 ISBN13 9780802828187
Reviews - What do customers think about A Broken Beauty?
A landmark exhibition Aug 30, 2005
Suffering poses one of the central dilemmas of the modern age -- an era that, arguably, with its world wars and mass genocides has inflicted more of it and on a vaster scale than any other in recorded history. What meaning can human suffering have in a world paradoxically devoted to notions to salvation through technology, on the one hand, and, on the other, to an aesthetics of despair that, in the name of authenticity, refuses all invitations to hope?
"A Broken Beauty" boldly enters into this nexus with a presentation of contemporary figurative painting and sculpture that both engages with contemporary themes and, with equal if not greater daring, shows with what power and versatility classical artistic forms and iconography still speak to the human condition today.
There's nothing facile about the work or the attitude on display in these pages. The art of this landmark exhibition does not assume that Christianity, or that artists of faith have easy answers to either the dilemmas of modernity or to the ongoing crises of postmodernist aesthetics. What "A Broken Beauty" does assume is that classical Christian and artistic perspectives direct an important challenge to an art world that appears to have lost faith in itself, and, indeed, perhaps in the value of the artistic enterprise. In "A Broken Beauty," there is the fragmentation, the "brokenness," that is part and parcel of modern consciousness, but there is also beauty, the perception, however "darkly" glimpsed, of original wholeness, of the transcendent value of the body, and of human life itself.
While there is much to praise, the catalogue's essays, particularly the defining ones by editor Theodore Prescott and the exhibition's curator Gordon Fuglie, are worth the price of admission. They rarely settle arguments, but none of the five essays plays it safe, either; none casts anxious glances in the direction of the latest academic theories (that alone is refreshing!). Each essay is full-blooded, passionate and informative as it tries to situate this landmark effort in the context of its historical antecedents, and, even more importantly, in the context of today's profound aesthetic crisis. If we ever manage to free ourselves from the debilitations of a half century or more of the aesthetics of despair, it will be due to efforts such as this, to the kind of bravery and vision exhibited in "A Broken Beauty."