IDOLIZING PICTURES: Idolatry, Iconoclasm, and Jewish Art

Anthony Julius, Author IDOLIZING PICTURES: Idolatry, Iconoclasm, and Jewish Art

British lawyer Julius, whose firm Mishcon De Reya represents the Queen, and who recently argued a high-profile libel case involving notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, also consistently slugs it out in the arts: his T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form has provoked more discussion than any book on Eliot in the last 30 or so years, and he does a lot of reviewing in the U.K. This short book, based on lectures given in London, weighs in on a different medium, taking on "Idolatry," "Jewish Iconicism," "Iconoclasms" and "Jewish Creativity" in the visual arts. Unfortunately, these studies read like a hastily assembled lawyer's brief in which preferences are stated but arguments are not fleshed out. Marc Chagall's iconographical innovations, for example, are found to be "an unhappy amalgam," while modernist Barnett Newman is dismissed from consideration as a Jewish artist without a full hearing. Stately pronouncements turn out not to mean much, like "Holocaust art is at the edge of the modern Jewish art of witness." A bibliographical essay at the end of the book substitutes for footnotes, though Chaim Potok's middle-brow novel My Name Is Asher Lev is recommended as a source for understanding how Jewish artists are treated "in their own communities." Julius's Eliot book remains important, but this sophomore effort can do little but ride in on its predecessor's gown. (Apr. 30)

Forecast:Since this book is not in Julius's perceived field of expertise, it won't get much attention from the English department academics waiting for a follow-up. For larger art history and Jewish studies collections at university libraries, however, it's a good bet on the strength of Julius's name.

Reviewed on: 04/09/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.