The Work of Art: Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Michael JacksonThe Work of Art: Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Michael Jackson

The Work of Art: Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious Life

byMichael Jackson

Hardcover | October 25, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$51.55 online 
$52.00 list price
Earn 258 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


How are we to think of works of art? Rather than treat art as an expression of individual genius, market forces, or aesthetic principles, Michael Jackson focuses on how art effects transformations in our lives. Art opens up transitional, ritual, or utopian spaces that enable us to reconcile inward imperatives and outward constraints, thereby making our lives more manageable and meaningful. Art allows us to strike a balance between being actors and being acted upon.

Drawing on his ethnographic fieldwork in Aboriginal Australia and West Africa, as well as insights from psychoanalysis, religious studies, literature, and the philosophy of art, Jackson deploys an extraordinary range of references-from Bruegel to Beuys, Paleolithic art to performance art, Michelangelo to Munch-to explore the symbolic labor whereby human beings make themselves, both individually and socially, out of the environmental, biographical, and physical materials that affect them: a process that connects art with gestation, storytelling, and dreaming and illuminates the elementary forms of religious life.

Michael Jackson is Distinguished Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing (1989) and At Home in the World (2000). His most recent Columbia University Press books include As Wide as the World Is Wise: Reinventing Philosophical Anthropology (2016) and Harmatta...
Title:The Work of Art: Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious LifeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pagesPublished:October 25, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231178182

ISBN - 13:9780231178181

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

PreamblePart 1Worlds Within and Worlds WithoutMelbourne NowThe Elementary Forms of Religious LifeArt as ReligionThe Interplay of Coming Out and Going InConsciousnessFrom Joyce to BeuysProduction and ReproductionAxes of BiasA Visit to the Kunstmuseum BaselPart 2The Life and Times of Paddy Jupurrula NelsonEcstatic ProfessionsArt and Adversity: Ian Fairweather and the Solitude of ArtTransplantations: The Art of Simryn GillMy Brother's Keeper: The Art of Susan NorrieHeroic Failure: The Art of Sidney NolanUne Vie Brève, Mais IntenseThe Pare RevisitedA Man of Constant Sorrow: The Existential Art of Colin McCahonPart 3Landscape and Nature Morte: The Art of Paul CézanneArt and the UnspeakableMarina Abramovic and the Shadows of IntersubjectivityExodusMaking It OtherwiseArt and the EverydayThe Work of Art and the Arts of LifeNotesAcknowledgmentsPermissionsIndex

Editorial Reviews

[The Work of Art] offers intriguing insights into how we might understand art and religion as two modes of the same creative impulse.