Image, branding, and logos are obsessions of our age. Iconic images dominate the media.
Christ to Coke is the first book to look at all the main types of visual icons. It does so via eleven supreme and mega-famous examples, both historical and contemporary, to see how they arose and how they continue to function. Along the way, we encounter the often weird and wonderful ways that they become transformed in an astonishing variety of ways and contexts. How, for example, has the communist revolutionary Che become a romantic hero for middle-class teenagers?
The stock image of Christ's face is the founding icon - literally, since he was the central subject of early icon painting. Some of the icons that follow are general, like the cross, the lion, and the heart-shape. Some are specific, such as the Mona Lisa, Che Guevara, and the famous photograph of the napalmed girl in Vietnam. The American flag, the "Stars and Stripes", does not quite fit into either category. Modern icons come from commerce, led by the Coca-Cola bottle, and from science, most
notably the double helix of DNA and Einstein's famous equation E=mc2.
The stories, researched using the skills of a leading visual historian, are told in a vivid and personal manner. Some are funny; some are deeply moving; some are highly improbable; some centre on popular fame; others are based on the most profound ideas in science. The diversity is extraordinary. There is no set formula, but do the images share anything in common?
So famous are the images that every reader is an expert in their own right and will be entertained and challenged by the narratives that Martin Kemp skilfully weaves around them.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 392
Weight: 1061 g
Dimensions: 249 x 194 x 28 mm
Leonardo expert Kemp (emer., Oxford Univ.) offers a deeply idiosyncratic but consistently engaging book that investigates what makes an image take on the extraordinary recognizability, transhistorical significance, and rich and diverse associations that identify it as an icon. * E. Hutchinson *
written in a thoughtful but conversational style ... and loaded with gorgeous images ... those curious about how images 'go viral', to borrow a contemporary term, will find themselves hooked. * ArtInfo *
an essential effort to understand who we came to worship what we worship and why the iconography of consumerism has such an enduring hold on us, whether or not we want to admit it. * The Atlantic.com *
Recommended for all those interested in iconography, art history, advertising, and branding. * Library Journal *
Ostensibly dedicated to how an image becomes an icon, this fascinating book is mostly about how a well-trained, curious mind pusues its many enthusiasms and examines its place in time and history. * ARTnews *
an excellent present for erudite friends * Literary Review *