Reclaiming the Spiritual in Art

Contemporary Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Edited by Dawn Perlmutter & Debra Koppman

Subjects: Religion
Series: SUNY series in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
Paperback : 9780791441626, 168 pages, May 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441619, 168 pages, June 1999

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Table of contents


Dawn Perlmutter and Debra Koppman

1. The Subjugation of the Spiritual in Art
Dawn Perlmutter

2. Venus/Intra-Venus: Art against and as the Body
Crispin Sartwell

3. Mickey, Minnie, and Mecca: Destination Disney World, Pilgrimage in the Twentieth Century
Cher Krause Knight

4. Feminist Revisions
Debra Koppman

5. (Dis)integration as Theory and Method in an Artmaking Practice
Susan Shantz

6. Between the Sacred and the Profane: The Altars of Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely
Andrew Doerr

7. Multiple Visions: Revisioning Aesthetics in a Pluralist America
Debra Koppman

8. Blood Relations: Jose Bedia, Joseph Beuys, David Hammons, and Ana Mendieta
Melissa E. Feldman

9. Malice Green Did Like Jesus: A Detroit Miracle Story
Janice Mann

10. Postmodern Idolatry: The Media and Violent Acts of Participation
Dawn Perlmutter

11. Thou Art: The Continuity of Religious Ideology in Modern and Postmodern Theory and Practice
Debra Koppman



Examines the role of the sacred in art and makes a compelling case for its continued contemporary relevance.


From Walt Disney World to the movie Natural Born Killers, this book explores uncommon indicators of the spiritual in contemporary art and culture. Drawing on a diversity of perspectives in philosophy and aesthetics to highlight conscious and unconscious manifestations of the sacred in art, this work makes a compelling case for its continued contemporary relevance.

Contributors include Andrew Doerr, Melissa E. Feldman, Cher Krause Knight, Debra Koppman, Janice Mann, Dawn Perlmutter, Crispin Sartwell, and Susan Shantz.

Dawn Perlmutter is Assistant Professor of Art and Philosophy at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and Debra Koppman is Assistant Professor of Art at John F. Kennedy University.


"Varied, vigorous, and challenging, this multifaceted work succeeds in making a compelling case for the reviving and sustaining force of the spiritual in contemporary art. The book ranges from theoretical issues to studies of particular artists, and brings together many different strands, each of which offers its own contribution to the sacred in art. Both in its breadth and originality, Reclaiming the Spiritual in Art vividly illuminates the aesthetic power of the sacred." — Arnold Berleant, Long Island University

"The best thing about this book is its willingness to question once again the relationship between art and the sacred, a relation that has been too much neglected in contemporary scholarship. The topic is most certainly significant and needs all the attention it can get, and this book gives it some. It is crucially important for literary studies, for philosophy, and for religious studies." — James S. Hans, author of Contextual Authority and Aesthetic Truth