All cultures make, and break, images. Striking Images, Iconoclasms Past and Present explores how and why people have made and modified images and other cultural material from pre-history into the 21st century. With its impressive chronological sweep and disciplinary breadth, this is the first book about iconoclasm (the breaking of images) and the transformation of broader sets of signs that includes contributions from archaeologists, curators, and museum conservators as well as historians of art, literature and religious studies. The chapters examine themes critical to the study of iconoclasm: violence, punishment, memory, intentionality, ruins and relics and their survival. The conclusion shows how cross-disciplinary debate amongst the contributors informed Tate Britain’s 'Art under Attack' exhibition (2013) and addresses the challenges iconoclasm presents to the modern museum. By juxtaposing objects and places usually considered in isolation, Striking Images raises provocative questions about our understandings of cross-cultural differences and the value of representational objects from the broken swords of pre-historical bog graves to the Bamiyan Buddhas and contemporary art. Are any such objects ever ’finished’, or are they simply subject to constant transformation? In dialogue with each other, the essays consider this question and expand the field of iconoclasm - and cultural - studies.
'There is much for ACE members here, not least Leslie Brubaker's dazzling demolition of the well-worn binary account of the so-called Iconoclastic Controversy.' Art and Christianity