Idolizing Pictures: Idolatry, Iconoclasm and Jewish Art
In this ground-breaking book Anthony Julius derives a Jewish aesthetic from the Second Commandment. The prohibition of idolatry in fact contains a positive program. It is both an injunction against idol worshipping and a call to idol breaking; it promotes a creative iconoclasm that uses irony to expose inflated claims about art.
Examining works by artists such as Chagall and Shahn, Julius finds that much Jewish art does not meet this bracing criterion. But in the output of contemporary artists Komar and Melamid he identifies and celebrates an aesthetic that by irony subverts both artistic and political idolatry. Idolizing Pictures is a manifesto for Jewish art.