Mark C. Taylor provocatively claims that contemporary art has lost its way. With the art market now mirroring the art of finance, many artists create works solely for the purpose of luring investors and inspiring trade among hedge funds and private equity firms. When art is commodified, corporatized, and financialized, it loses its critical edge and is transformed into a financial instrument calculated to maximize profitable returns. Joseph Beuys, Matthew Barney, James Turrell, and Andy Goldsworthy are artists who differ in style, yet they all defy the trends that have diminished art's potential in recent decades. They understand that art is a transformative practice drawing inspiration directly and indirectly from ancient and modern, Eastern and Western forms of spirituality. For Beuys, anthroposophy, alchemy, and shamanism drive his multimedia presentations; for Barney and Goldsworthy, Celtic mythology informs their art; and for Turrell, Quakerism and Hopi myth and ritual shape his vision.
Eluding traditional genres and classifications, these artists combine spiritually inspired styles and techniques with material reality, creating works that resist merging space into cyberspace in a way that overwhelms local contexts with global networks. Their art reminds us of life's irreducible materiality and humanity's inescapability of place. For them, art is more than just an object or process-it is a vehicle transforming human awareness through actions echoing religious ritual. By lingering over the extraordinary work of Beuys, Barney, Turrell, and Goldsworthy, Taylor not only creates a novel and personal encounter with their art but also opens a new understanding of overlooked spiritual dimensions in our era.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 244
Weight: 723 g
Dimensions: 178 x 229 x 21 mm
By its inventive hybridization of traditional academic specialties, Mark C. Taylor's work as a whole has forced questions which few other present-day writers, especially in America, have been able to do. In this regard, Refiguring the Spiritual is not simply a significant contribution to a specific field, but to the arts and letters in total. -- Carl Raschke, University of Denver, and senior editor, Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory Promiscuously interdisciplinary, Mark C. Taylor weaves together a multitude of sources in Refiguring the Spiritual-taking from poetry, art history, critical theory, philosophy, science, economics, and theology-and demonstrates how the visual arts can reveal fundamental truths about existence in the world-a world that lies beyond the limits of mimetic representation and language. -- Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation In a climate in which the art market is continuing to break records without explanation, Mark C. Taylor offers a unique parallel between the workings of finance and the fine art arena. The initial pages of this book contain the clearest description I've read regarding the mechanics of finance in this new millennium. Moreover, Taylor's appreciation of work by Jim Turrell and Andy Goldsworthy, two of my favorite artists, caught me completely off guard with his philosophic depth and aesthetic sensitivity, all from recounted personal experiences. -- Stephen Hannock, painter Taylor leaves readers to wonder if "art might redeem the world." Recommended. Choice a book that will stimulate and provoke to a deeper engagement with the works discussed. -- George Pattison Art and Christianity