Big Government
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Provocative and Fascinating Dissection of Life's Essence

  • Mar 9, 2005
This book accompanied an exhibition at the Museum fur Angewandte Kunst und Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt am Main in 2002: reading this enthralling book makes one wish that the exhibition had traveled!

James Bradburne is the primary author of this treatise on the vital body substance Blood - a fluid that has challenged the imagination of philosophers, scientists, clergy and artists for centuries. Beginning with the paintings from the Middle Ages preoccupied with the blood of Christ as a symbol for both death and life, this survey is wonderfully illustrated with high quality reproductions of paintings, etchings, sculpture from the past down to contemporary art of video and installation performances that focus on blood as the single most important source of life, death, sickness, health, miracles, power, domination and subjugation.

Not always for the faint of heart, Bradburne includes images of Gunther Brus in his self-mutilation performances, drawings of the elements of blood, references to blood as the transmitter of AIDS and other past and present atrocities. The spectrum of the topic extends from the art houses and cathedrals to the media and cartoons and is fairly complete in the resonance it creates in the dichotomy of positive and negative.

Would that there were more exhibitions of this quality and bravery! But what remains is a book that makes for fascinating reading and looking, and more than that an isolated exhibition cannot hope for as an extended life! Grady Harp, March 05

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About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this book



Art, Power, Politics, and Pathology
Edited by James M. Bradburne

Blood: Art, Power, Politics, and Pathology examines one of the most powerful and ubiquitous of human symbols. Illustrated with art works from some of the world ’s most important collections, this volume shows how changing conceptions of blood have shaped social relations and material culture over the past 1,500 years.

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ISBN-10: 3791326007
ISBN-13: 978-3791326009
Author: James M. Bradburne
Publisher: Prestel

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