Synopses & Reviews
"Promey's book is a penetrating analysis of Shaker art.... The book is a gem, a true advance in Shaker studies, art history, religious history, and cultural history. Highly recommended." --Choice
"... a very intelligent and articulate... treatment of a stunning set of message-images." --Art Bulletin
"This book is a pleasure to look at and to read." --Religious Studies Review
"[A] fascinating investigation into another world. The Shaker spirit drawings... offer clues into a remarkable moment of American life, as well as an opportunity to rethink just how the visual arts, religious revitalizations, and social memory relate to one another.... [A] model study: clear, absorbing, and significant."
Promey's book is a penetrating analysis of Shaker art. Her major thesis is that the apparently contradictory emergence of graphic images in this explicitly nonmaterialistic religious society is, in fact, sensible in terms of the third generation's need for visible (and thereby real) connection to the original charisma of the society's founders. The images, acceptably constructed as a form of Shaker holy writ, conflated the past with the present by making the saints of the earlier era concurrent with the later generation. Promey exquisitely uses dense analysis of Shaker and world sociocultural contexts to clarify the structure, function, and meanings of the images. She appropriately contextualizes the images with regard to important theological and ideological constructs basic to Shakerism, e.g., order and gift. Further, she refines current terminology by embracing many of the heretofore disparate graphic forms within her term gift images. Promey admirably uses Turner's anthropological models of liminality, but she might have benefited from grounding her discussion of charismatic institutionalization in Weberian sociology. The book is a gem, a true advance in Shaker studies, art history, religious history, and cultural history. Highly recommended. General; undergraduate; graduate. --J. B. Wolford, Indiana UniversityPurdue Univ., Indianapolis, October 1993 Indiana University Press
Includes bibliographical references (p. 278-283) and index.
About the Author
SALLY M. PROMEY is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. Stein
Introduction: A Sense of Crisis
Part I: Vision and Image
1. From Vision to Image: Continuity in Shaker Experience
2. Image and Inconoclasm: Discontinuity in Shaker Experience
3. Production and Regulation of Images: The Instruments and the Ministry
Part II: Vision, Image, and Space
4. Ethics and Aesthetics: In Heaven's Likeness
5. Image as Threshold of Heaven: Passing through Pictures
Part III: Vision, Image, and Time
6. (Re)collecting History: A Visible Genealogy of "Gospel Relations"
7. Restoring Relationship: Image as "Visible Presence"
Epilogue: The Power of Ambiguity
List of Abbreviations