A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars
Modern life is a sea of images. With so much visual data bombarding us—from personal devices to mass media—our brains must rapidly adapt to make sense of it all. Here to guide us is America's premier intellectual provocateur, Camille Paglia.
In these pages, Paglia returns to the subject that made her famous, situating our current visual environment within the epic scope of all of art history. With trademark audacity, Paglia tours through more than two dozen seminal paintings, sculptures, architectural styles, performance pieces, and digital art works that have transformed our world. Combining close analysis with historical context, she trains our eye to each image—from an Egyptian tomb to Jackson Pollock's abstract Green Silver to Renée Cox's daring performance piece Chillin' with Liberty. And in her stunning conclusion, she declares the avant-garde tradition dead and film director George Lucas the world's greatest living artist. Written with energy, erudition, and wit, Glittering Images will profoundly change the way we see.
READ AN EXCERPT
From Chapter 1
Ghosts carved out of time. Egyptian art is a vast ruin of messages from the dead. Clean and simple in form, Egyptian painted figures float in an abstract space that is neither here nor there. The background is coolly blank. Everything is flattened...
“A magisterial, poetically composed, and masterly study. . . . Paglia writes rhapsodically of art’s power. . . . [She is] one of the most erudite public intellectuals in America.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Highlights Ms. Paglia’s impressive range and famously eclectic tastes. . . . [She is] a critic determined to teach the redemptive possibilities of patient, informed observation.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Riveting. . . . Revelatory. . . . Subtle, penetrating and sometimes funny.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“[Paglia is] an art-for-art’s-sake worshiper of art and literature whose close readings, influenced by Walter Pater and Sigmund Freud, are pyrotechnic and passionate.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Dazzling. . . . Compulsively readable. . . . Paglia at her best. . . . The lean precision of the book is a marvel. . . . Her choices range from the classic and expected to the obscure and the startling. . . . Even her explorations of the more familiar works will have you marveling anew.” —Salon
“Paglia [is] an intellectual sensation. . . . Here we find Paglia’s bewitching eye, matched with her gift for language, at its best.” —City Journal
“Artists, questing outsiders, are still with us, still finding their way, making their way. Perhaps some of them will be inspired by the glittering images Camille Paglia offers here.” —Los Angeles Times
“An essential work by an essential public intellectual.” —Vice
“Paglia is a lively, bracingly outspoken writer able to draw on her knowledge of both fine arts and popular culture.” —National Post
“A fascinating, uncommonly accessible look at the history of images in Western art. . . . [Paglia is] an incisive cultural critic, a dedicated teacher and a nimble-minded writer.” —Cincinnati City Beat
“An intelligently detailed examination of 29 works of art, ranging from a tomb painting of Egyptian Queen Nefertari to George Lucas’ film Revenge of the Sith. . . . Paglia is a wonderful popularizer of art history and art appreciation.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Succinct, lively, and illuminating. . . . Paglia’s bold and rigorous, handsomely illustrated and welcoming art iconography will accomplish her mission to provoke, enlighten, and inspire..” —Booklist (starred)
“A valuable cultural critique and an elucidating history. . . . [A] highly reflective and imaginative history of images in Western art. . . . Paglia writes with energetic lucidity, and her entries on the Laocoön and Donatello’s Mary Magdalene are standouts in this absorbing volume.” —Publishers Weekly
“The ever-provocative Paglia returns. . . . She proclaims that the avant-garde is dead and that George Lucas is our greatest living artist. This will get the smart folks talking.” —Library Journal