Richard Powers Iconoclasm

Good Essays
Richard Powers once said “The history of art is the history of iconoclasm, the history of some new voice saying that everything you know is wrong.” What does Mr. Powers mean by this statement? To understand what he means we first have to go back and look at what iconoclasm means. Iconoclasm means the doctrine or practice of an iconoclast, which in turn means a person who criticizes or opposes widely accepted practices and beliefs. To further understand the statement said by Mr. Powers we will also have to look at the history of iconoclasm, current iconoclastic events, study when the desire of preservation of icons becomes a form of worship, and whether the worship of the icon is the same as worshiping the beliefs or practices they represent.…show more content…
This question in itself brings up a whole new polemic. Many would say the worshiping of what the artwork stands for would be constant praise or constantly bringing up the work. Others would believe that when the practices the artworks represent would become a form of worship. Yet, others would believe that a mixture of other two groups is a sure sign of worship. But, can someone worship a piece of artwork and not worship the practices it represents? Personally I believe that it can happen that a person can worship the artwork but not the practices. While in other situations the person can worship the practices and not agree or worship the work itself. What does it really mean to worship an artwork rather than what it embodies? How far would the worship of the work go until it would be considered idolatry? To some worshiping an artwork is to constantly praise it and use it as a reference when looking at the quality of other works done. To worship a piece rather than to worship the beliefs it represents is to hold that piece in high regards but not agree with the practices or beliefs shown in the piece or to not care for those beliefs or practices. Yet, to idolize a work would be to believe that the work being worshipped is a manifestation of a god, or to believe that the work has all the power and believe that it speaks to people to do things. Many will say that idolizing an artwork or object and worshiping the object without regards for the purpose of the work are the same thing. In some cases that line between idolizing a work and worshiping the work without regards to the purpose or back story are sometimes blurred when certain things come into play. For example, both ideas hold high regards for the work yet idolizing the work ties it to a religion, practice, or belief. While the other simply does not care for the belief,
Get Access