Camille Paglia On Seminal Images

Critic, provocateur Camille Paglia on the vanishing visual arts and American souls at risk.

Untitled (Green Silver), ca. 1949. (Jackson Pollock)

Untitled (Green Silver), ca. 1949. (Jackson Pollock)

Critic, provocateur Camille Paglia brings a tough, earthy, brilliant edge to everything she touches.  Her politics can be a street fight.  Her intellect a razor blade.  Her insight, a joy.  Now Camille Paglia is looking at what we see.  What we look at these days.  A flood of pixels.  Facebook photo albums.

A jittery dollhouse of You Tube fancy.  And precious little real visual art.  In a sea of images we are losing our connection, she says, to the great messages of art.  Its wisdom.  Its insight.  Its glory.

This hour, On Point:  Camille Paglia on our missing art, and – she says – our souls at risk.

-Tom Ashbrook


Camille Paglia, author, teacher, and social critic. Her new book is Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars. You can read an excerpt here.

C-Segment: Mo Yan Wins Nobel Prize

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Smith College, in the On Point studios. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Smith College, in the On Point studios. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at Smith College.  She’s the author The Heart of Time: Moral Agency in Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction and Chinese: Literature: A Very Short Introduction.

From Tom’s Reading List

Salon “A feminist critic of feminism, a Democrat frequently infuriated by Democrats (now is one of those times), she thrives at being a bomb-thrower from the inside. And she’s at it again! During an interview last week about her new book, she held forth on subjects as varied as the state of the arts, Bravo’s addictive “Real Housewives” franchise, her old nemesis Naomi Wolf and, yes, politics — where she gave us her surprise pick for president.”

Bloomberg “The painting was executed over three months in 1907 in Picasso’s jammed, squalid one-room studio apartment in bohemian Montmartre in Paris. Its fleshy pinks are a survival from the artist’s Rose Period but with a stunning change of tone. There is no longer any humor or pleasure.”

New York Times “The impetus for her visit was the Oct. 16 publication of “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars” (Pantheon), Ms. Paglia’s sixth book and her first to focus squarely on visual art. Asked to meet at the museum, she had responded with an enthusiastic e-mail, calling the choice “ideal” because “it made such a huge impression on me as a small child.” Now 65, she first visited in the early 1950s, on a trip from Endicott, N.Y., the upstate working-class enclave where she had been born and raised, and the foray had been so formative that “I’ll never forget it!!!,” she wrote.”


Here’s a gallery of some of Paglia’s “glittering images.”

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