What Is an Image?

Edited by James Elkins, Maja Naef

Hardback - £69.95

Publication date:

15 December 2011

Length of book:

296 pages

Publisher

Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271050645

What Is an Image? raises the stakes for writing in art history, visual studies, art theory, and art criticism by questioning one of the most fundamental terms of all, the image or picture. This innovative collection gathers some of the most influential historians and theorists working on images to discuss what the visual has come to mean. Topics include concepts such as image and picture in the West and outside it; the reception and rejection of semiotics; the question of what is outside the image; the question of whether images have a distinct nature or are products of discourse, like language; the relationship between images and religious meanings; and the study of non-art images in medicine, science, and technology.

Among the major writers represented in this book are Gottfried Boehm, Michael Ann Holly, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, W. J. T. Mitchell, Marie-José Mondzain, Keith Moxey, Parul Dave Mukherji, Wolfram Pichler, Alex Potts, and Adrian Rifkin.

What Is an Image? offers a richly informative, wide-ranging, and open-ended ensemble of ideas and viewpoints that significantly advances the scholarly conversation. One of the great virtues of the volume is that it breaks with the standardized format of much academic writing to allow the coexistence of a plurality of voices and opinions. The reader is allowed to ‘listen in’ on a discussion that takes place at the cutting edge of current research and thereby gains a clear overview of the issues at stake in reconceptualizing the image.”

—Jason Gaiger, The University of Oxford