Published to accompany a major exhibition at Tate Britain, this fully illustrated catalogue explores the history of attacks on art in Britain, from the reformation of the sixteenth century to the present day, demonstrating how religious, political, moral and aesthetic controversy can become arenas for assaults on art.
Through eight essays, the broad subject of iconoclasm is broken into three overarching themes: the state-sanctioned iconoclastic zeal of religious reformers, who aimed to purge both churches and minds of the sin of idolatry; the symbolic statue-breaking that accompanies political change such as the targeted attacks on cultural heritage by the suffragettes; and attacks on art by individuals stimulated by a moral or aesthetic outrage. Importantly, the aim of the study is to present the rationale of iconoclasm, its significance to the history of an object, and how it has become a productive and transformational practice for some modern and contemporary artists.
With contributions by Stacy Boldrick, Susan Harrison, Lena Mohamed, Jenny Powell, Greg Sullivan, Richard Williams and Andrew Wilson.
Tabitha Barber is Curator, British Art (1550-1750) at Tate.
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