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Book reviews for "McEvilley,_Thomas" sorted by average review score:

The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies
Published in Hardcover by Allworth Press (2002)
Author: Thomas McEvilley
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The Shape Of Ancient Thought
The Shape of Ancient Thought, no doubt, will send shock waves through the academic historical community, but I would like to address its impact and importance to alternative communities with which I've worked and studied for over two decades. As an exhibiting artist, educator of visual culture, and someone who has been schooled in some of America's premier arts institutions, I suggest that Tom McEvilley's book is an indispensable resource that the arts community has long awaited. All throughout reading The Shape of Ancient Thought I continually caught myself wishing I had been schooled with this book in my founding years. It has taken me nearly twenty years to come to, flesh out, and grasp the diverse philosophical tenets within this book. And still I had much to learn and enjoy in reading it.
The Shape of Ancient Thought concisely, and in this case 731 pages is concise, organizes the views that not only shaped past thinkers, but unveils a mutually dependent history that (for better or worse) has shaped our current environment. The student of visual culture (and if I may add the student of higher education in general) should have a handle on these ancient philosophical ideas and practices without which digesting much of the current tropes becomes a difficult task, or goes uneaten. To understand more fully, to be apart, and to participate in today's current cutting edge discussions a scholar as well as an arts professional needs to have filtered through the basic yet voluminous ideas that McEvilley collects in this book, but maybe more emphatically, that Tom McEvilley proposes the cross pollination of ancient philosophy, and in signposting the course, the reader is better prepared to do their own combinational work in today's demanding climate.

The riddle of world history
In spite of the advances in archaeology our knowledge of world history is really a terra incognita and this work bravely sets sail into some of its most notable uncharted waters. In the process the author brings a degree of critical acumen to a subject where mistakes of understanding are probable due to the complete absence of a proper methodology for such a venture. Our image of Greece and the Greek Enlightenment too often filters out the significance of such as Pythagoras and Orphism, the taboo issue of reincarnation, indeed the mysterious strains in Plato, and the clear echoes of the world of Indian philosophy and yoga. The sheer scale of the endeavor is impressive and this work is an instant addition to one's resources on world history, which is not a full endorsement of the results as such. The work is such a compedium of interesting problems and research puzzles. Questions of diffusion haunt all efforts to assess the enigma of antiquity, and not the least problem is the very definition of 'philosophy' as this stretches between the terrain of rationalism to the domain of the Indian sutras, beside the charvakas, materialist monism, and secular humanism of the full spectrum of post-Upanishadic tradition. The author deals tactfully with the gnarled issue of Sumerian versus Indic diffusion, in a context of near Occidentalism overtaking Orientalism in the modern world's ironic recursion of one and the same mix of New Age mystics and rationalist philosophers. The verdict of the cylinder seals is a fascinating part of the argument. The great riddle of the source of the great yogas seems increasingly to find some evidence of a source in the Sumerian milieu, a point many would protest in a period of claims for India as the source of all civilizations. Once might cross Arabia twice on a camel and never see a sufi, let alone his unity with the yogi, and in the same way the exteriorization of the Indian spiritualities does not necessarily entail a visible diffusion of like to like. Thus the riddle remains most probably in some unseen aspect of the Sumerian world that also spawned a myth of Abraham.
This work breaks new ground in areas where crackpot thinking would be all too likely. I would, however, consider the lack of any consideration of a still more intractable riddle, that of the Axial Age, which might clarify the inability of diffusionist arguments to fully succeed here. More is going on than simple diffusion of 'ideas'. In general, proof of diffusion still falls short of explanation, and in a simpler case, Greek Archaic sculpture shows obvious affinities to the Egyptian, yet this does not explain the timing or later development. In the same way we must wonder if the effects to be explained proceed as 'thoughts of a philosopher' as much as the 'self-consciousness' of the 'philo-sophist' or 'man of consciousness'. In Heraclitus we see the spectrum in mid range, half yogi, half philosopher, and the Indian echo, however mysterious still, is somehow transparent.
Fascinating book in a treacherous field. One might disagree but the focus on these problems is essential, however difficult their answers.

The Shape of Ancient Thought
The mastery this book shows of both primary and secondary sources in several languages is awesome. It is clear that it is the product of a life's work. Not only does it demonstrate an East-West connection that was previously almost unknown and that is terribly important for the future, it also presents a working-through of the most basic ideas of philosophy and the most basic mechanisms of human thought. These are topics that have been neglected heretofore as a result of political and social factors that this author seems above and beyond. It is an awesomely beautiful exposition of ancient thought and the origins of philosophy as a force in civilization.

James Croak
Published in Hardcover by Harry N Abrams (1999)
Author: Thomas McEvilley
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My favorite art book
The first time I saw the cover of this book, I fell in love with this artist's work. In "Pegasus with Chevy," I could feel his dynamic spirit. In the "Dirt Man" series, I saw his secure skill, while in his "Dirt Babies," I felt his unique talent. Especially, in "Hand Series," I felt his warm heart. James Croak uses a variety of materials such as latex rubber, tar and dirt. I think it is this challenging spirit that makes him a truly original artist. I enjoyed the book a lot. Moreover, this book is so beautiful that I display it to decorate my room.

a beautiful artbook
This book gives James Croak the credit he earnes for his work.It shows a good review of his work for the last three decades.The context Thomas Mc Evilley places his work in I found very interesting.

A beautiful book about a unique artist
This book is a singular survey of this unusual artist. His "dirt pieces" are without precedent in the history of art and are rapidly becoming influential as we sum up our century. They literally appeared out of nowhere. Much of Croak's work is in stunning detail despite the oddity of the material. Thomas McEvilley's essay is ground-breaking as the book jacket claims inasmuch as there is tremendous amount of art of the figure today and the reasons for it are spelled out here. A beautiful and informative book !

Contemporary Art in Asia: Traditions, Tensions
Published in Hardcover by Asia Society (1997)
Authors: Apinan Poshyananda, Thomas McEveilley, Geeta Kapur, Jim Supangkat, Marian Pastor Roces, Jae-Ryung Roe, and Thomas McEvilley
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A Treasure Chest of the Exotic
In 1997 the Asia Society organized and presented a large traveling exhibition that began in New York , traveled to Canada and then to Asia. The name of the exhibition, as the name of this book, was CONTEMPORARY ART IN ASIA: TRADITIONS/TENSIONS and we have a fine documentation of what must have been an extraordinary show in this sumptious, highly informed book/catalogue. The art displayed is from India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. The curatorial thread is one of demonstrating how contemporary work in these very different countries is loosely united in each artist's use of traditional imagery to address contemporary tensions - gender, sexual, political, national, religious, and philosophical. The book has beautifully concise and erudite essays by writers from each of the cultures and there has rarely been a selection of commentators so well selected. Then come the visuals and the treats in store for those who do not know Asian art are endless. Some of the artists are extremely well known: Cho Duck Hyun and Kim Ho-Suk from South Korea, ChatChai Puipia and Navin Rawanchikul from Thailand, Nalini Malani from India, etc. But the real pleasure of this book is in the discovery of many lesser know, immensely exciting artists whose works are so gripping that the images jump off the page. The color reproductions are superb and the design of the book is elegant. This leaves us with the hope that the Asia Society will soon again curate another exhibition of this magnitude. This book is more than a fine art monograph - it is a fine history and philosophy text, as well.

Kienholz: A Retrospective
Published in Hardcover by Distributed Art Publishers (1996)
Authors: Edward Kienholz, Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Walter Hopps, Rosetta Brooks, Monte Factor, Jurgen Harten, Richard Jackson, Alberta Mayo, Thomas McEvilley, and Marcus Raskin
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An Extraordinary Book
Published at the time of the Kienholz Retrospective Show at the Whitney Museum in 1996, this book not only documents that show with over 400 illustrations (many in color), it is also a tribute to Ed Kienholz, who died in 1994. Contributions by art historians, artists, friends and most importantly, Nancy Reddin Kienholz, make up a history that spans 4 decades. It begins with Ed's solo work in the Beat Era of the 1950s and continues with the collaborative work done by Ed and wife Nancy from 1972 to 1994. Even those who are not artists cannot help but be moved by this book. The stories are interesting, often funny and always personal. From collages to life-size environments, the work is not afraid to confront issues of cruelty or to embrace the forgotten in society. Unique vision, artistry and the materials of everyday life (collected at flea markets and junk shops) combine to make art that can be quiet with despair, cry out in anguish, or even make us laugh. Considered by some as ugly, this work is never dull or without compassion. As art historian and curator Walter Hopps says on the book jacket, "The work of Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz has had an enormous impact on the development of contemporary sculpture." I recommend this book to anyone interested in contemporary art or social science -- or who just appreciates a beautiful book and fascinating story.

Les Levine: Art Can See
Published in Paperback by Hatje Cantz Publishers (1998)
Authors: Lee Levine, Johann-Karl Schmidt, Isabel Greshcat, Thomas McEvilley, and Les Levine
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You have misspelled the name
^You have misspelled the name:

Please write _Les_ Levine in the next issue

Art on the Edge and over: Searching for Art's Meaning in Contemporary Society 1970S-1990s
Published in Hardcover by Art Insights, Inc (1997)
Authors: Linda Weintraub, Thomas McEvilley, and Arthur Coleman Danto
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An OK overview, but superficial
I guess this book is meant as a real "intro" text, but if you do know something about this art, it seems pretty lite. Clearly, lots of people like it, but Weintraub seems to bend so far over to make complex work accessible that she really over-simplifines. And the "art" in the book is so scattered and uneven, you don't get any deeper sense of what is going on, what the historical context of any of this might be.

Granted, there aren't many intro texts on recent art. So if this is one of the "better" ones, it's mostly for lack of competition. I wish there was some accessible middle ground between pop/gossip texts and academic tomes. This feels like it's written from someone really distant to the work, who's not always that well-informed.

Almost a bull's-eye
Anyone who wants to become familiar with intricacies of what can be the confusing world of post-modern art should read this book. The author does an excellent job of presenting an interesting cross-section of significant and fascinating collection of atypical artists. Pretty much every artist who is included has done their share of expanding the contemporary definition of Art in the Western and Non-western tradition. Over all, this compendium of essays does much to open the door to widen the reader's perspective on what art can do. The one aspect of this book that is troublesome is that the author often seems to focus on only one or two aspects of an artist's works, a habit that is frustrating at best and misleading at worst. While doing outside research on one of the artists included, Mel Chin, I was convinced there were two artists with the same name, as the perspective provided in the book did not prepare me for the artist's full range of activities. Still, this complaint should not stop an interested party from purchasing the book. I for one did not feel my money ill-spent.

A little of this and a little of that
as a MFA student thats currently being educated by "the institution" i find myself flip flopping between wanting to drop out or drop in...this book didn't save me but it sure put things in perspective, never before in a book have I seen cover such topics where you can find Barbara Kruger and James Luna and Joseph Beuys and Tomie Arai between the same cover's in a book. This book also addresses an important issue for me. race. The art world is racist and if you don't know that just look around, art is life and a reflection of society and if you dont know that its because your a white (sorry but its true). This book may not address it but it surely helps to have some artists of color represented (although they aren't near the best art makers).

Sculpture in the Age of Doubt (Aesthetics Today)
Published in Paperback by Allworth Press (1999)
Author: Thomas McEvilley
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Too Easy
This book has many fine insights and analyses of artworks, as has alreday been said in previous online reviews. But the theoretical construction of a "Modernism" as an "age of certainty" totally devoted to the dogmas og Kantian aesthetics is highly problematic. All interesting art since 1850 has posed questions and tread unknown ground. Scepticism and doubt is no new or postModern thing.

This is one of several of McEvilley's theoretical constructions where he goes about important issues way too easily.

A superb survey of 20th century sculpture.
Thomas McEvilley's Sculpture In The Age Of Doubt examines 20th century sculpture with an eye to considering the major issues surrounding modern styles and choices. This is the only modern critical work to examine the evolution of Modern sculpture's styles from early works to contemporary representations.

THE book on contemporary sculpture!
I am an artist and this book speaks directly to me. Not that it wouldn't be useful to others too--I'm sure it would. It is the most informative source on recent sculpture, and has the clearest and smartest way into it all. There is so much to learn that I am now reading it for the second time. I find it especially useful the way it puts the practice of sculpture into a larger context so I can gauge my own place in history. It's not primarily a picture book but still the pictures are ones you will remember--and often ones you wouldn't normally see. Plus, what it all gets down to is, it's both beautifully written and fun--a really good read.

Art and Discontent: Theory at the Millennium
Published in Paperback by McPherson & Co (1993)
Author: Thomas McEvilley
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No big words, but doesn't flow
Good book, but written in a pretentious kind of way. Wordy. At times ambigious.

Seminal Early 90's Art Theory
A must read for serious artists, art students, and those interested in contemporary art. McEvilly digests and synthsizes modern (post-renaissance) art theory into a series of essays that attempt to nail down historicity, relavence, and relatedness vis a vis various contemporary artists and art works. An excellent starting point for further discussion of these issues.

Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970-85
Published in Paperback by Abbeville Press, Inc. (1991)
Authors: Randy Rosen, Catherine Brawer, Ellen Landau, Calvin Tomkins, Ferris Olin, and Thomas McEvilley
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An excellent resource and a pleasure to read
This book chronicles the work of several female artists from 1970 through 1985. It demonstrates how conditions have improved for women artists, as well as defining areas where improvement is still needed, such as one-person exhibitions. Backed by statistics, included for reference, this book is a great tool for further scholarship on female artists. Also includes many color photos of the magnificent work by these diverse artists, too numerous to list.

Thornton Dial: Image of the Tiger
Published in Hardcover by Harry N Abrams (1993)
Authors: Thornton Dial, Amiri Baraka, Thomas McEvilley, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Paul Arnett, William Arnett, Museum of American Folk Art, N.Y.) New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, and France) Centre Culturel Americain (Paris
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thornton dial
this is a very nice book. the design is not that great, but otherwise it is great. the art and pictures are very nice. the book was published in 93 so it shows a lot of earlier work by this very important artist. essays by baraka and mcevilley are insightful and should be read by anyone interested in art, black culture, or the politics of art and race. dial is in the 2000 whitney biennial, and this book makes you wonder why he wasn't in it earlier. the titles of the works alone make this worth reading. another book of note very much worth reading is souls grown deep: african american vernacular art of the south, published by tinwood books.

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