Art Under Attack

Histories of British Iconoclasm



ISBN: 9781849760300 Category:

Tabitha Barber


What compels people to carry out attacks on art? And have these motives changed over the last 500 years? Published to accompany an exhibition at Tate Britain, this book explores the his­tory of attacks on art in the UK, from the Reformation of the 16th century to the present day, showing how religious, political, moral, and aesthetic controversy can become arenas for assaults on art. From the state-sanctioned zeal of religious reformers and the symbolic statue-breaking that often accompanies political change to attacks on art by individuals stimulated by moral or aesthetic outrage, this study aims to present the rationale of iconoclasm and how it has become a productive and transformational practice for some contemporary artists. Termed “a fascinating exploration” by the Observer, this book offers an eye-opening look at protest.

Additional information

Weight 946 g
Dimensions 22 x 26.8 cm
Publisher name Tate Publishing
Publication date 1 November 2013
Number of pages 192
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 22 x 26.8 cm
Weight 946 g


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Tabitha Barber is curator of British Art (1550-1750) at Tate. Stacy Boldrick is curator of Research and Interpretation at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.