"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Camille Paglia on Art

I started reading Camille Paglia fresh out of high-school twenty years ago now, finding her polemical style a bracing corrective to much of the otherwise tiresome journalism and academic writing I was then reading. Her thoughts on Christianity, atheism, feminism, and art in this interview are worth your time.

She makes mention of a new book she's just published with an Eastern Christian angle to it: Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars (Pantheon, 2012), 202pp.

Her fifth chapter is on St. John Chrysostom, and her twenty-fifth chapter is on Andy Warhol, who was an Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic. Along the way, she mentions briefly Byzantine iconography and iconoclasm.

The publisher further tells us about this book:
From the best-selling author of Sexual Personae and Break, Blow, Burn and one of our most acclaimed cultural critics, here is an enthralling journey through Western art’s defining moments, from the ancient Egyptian tomb of Queen Nefertari to George Lucas’s volcano planet duel in Revenge of the Sith.

America’s premier intellectual provocateur returns to the subject that brought her fame, the great themes of Western art. Passionately argued, brilliantly written, and filled with Paglia’s trademark audacity, Glittering Images takes us on a tour through more than two dozen seminal images, some famous and some obscure or unknown—paintings, sculptures, architectural styles, performance pieces, and digital art that have defined and transformed our visual world. She combines close analysis with background information that situates each artist and image within its historical context—from the stone idols of the Cyclades to an elegant French rococo interior to Jackson Pollock’s abstract Green Silver to Renée Cox’s daring performance piece Chillin’ with Liberty. And in a stunning conclusion, she declares that the avant-garde tradition is dead and that digital pioneer George Lucas is the world’s greatest living artist. Written with energy, erudition, and wit, Glittering Images is destined to change the way we think about our high-tech visual environment.

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