Christ to COKE

Christ to COKE

How Image Becomes Icon

eBook - 2012
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Baker & Taylor
Explores the origins and evolution of eleven visual iconic images still found in today's culture, including Jesus, the Coke bottle, and Einstein's famous equation, e equals mc squared.

Oxford University Press
How does an image become iconic? In Christ to Coke, eminent art historian Martin Kemp offers a highly original look at the main types of visual icons. Lavishly illustrated with 165 color images, this marvelous work illuminates eleven universally recognized images, both historical and contemporary, to see how they arose and how they continue to function in our culture.

Kemp begins with the stock image of Christ's face, the founding icon--literally, since he was the central subject of early Christian icons. Some of the icons that follow are general, like the cross, the lion, and the heart-shape (as in "I heart New York"). Some are specific, such as the Mona Lisa, Che Guevara, and the famous photograph of the napalmed girl in Vietnam. Other modern icons come from politics, such as the American flag (the "Stars and Stripes"), from business, led by the Coca-Cola bottle, and from science, most notably the double helix of DNA and Einstein's famous equation E=mc2.

The stories of these icons--researched using the skills of a leading visual historian--are told in a vivid and personal manner. Some are funny; some are deeply moving; some are highly improbable; some center on popular fame; others are based on the most profound ideas in science. The diversity is extraordinary. Along the way, we encounter the often weird and wonderful ways that these images adapt to an astonishing variety of ways and contexts.

Informative, amusing, and surprising by turns, Christ to Coke will entertain and intrigue readers with the narratives that Martin Kemp skillfully weaves around these famous images.

Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2012
ISBN: 9780199581115
Branch Call Number: 701 K3206c 2012
Characteristics: xxiv, 368 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm


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Jan 19, 2012

The title of the book led me to expect a sociological/
psychological evaluation of how marketing makes something or someone into an icon. I was intrigued by the possible critiqueing of both Christ & Coke, as the title indicated. However, that's really not what the book is about. The author is an art professor and the book is really about how things are represented in art and design. Hence the chapter on Jesus is really about how artists have portrayed him through the ages and the one about Coke focuses on the design of the Coke bottle. Not being an artist or designer, I found it a bit dry and decided not to read the other chapters.


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