Book Launch Party for David Shields’s War is Beautiful
Shields will read the intro to and present a slideshow of his new book, War is Beautiful: A New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict, which Noam Chomsky called “shattering.” Organizing the photos into chapters such as Beauty, Movie, Painting, and Pietà, Shields demonstrates how the photos aestheticize both war as a whole and the suffering of the human body during war.
After the brief reading, Zahr Said of the UW School of Law will conduct a Q&A with Shields.
Praise for the Book
“A work of perilous ambiguity. No one will go Don Quixote against the Times (aren’t we clever?), but Shields has. It’s quite an extraordinary task he has set for himself here by squarely taking on NYT warimages—the aestheticization of horror. The trouble is that the glamour doesn’t go away. The quotes accompanying the pics become, effectively, orphans, because—whatever they say—you can’t unsee what you see. Shields is totally on point that the NYT is 1) our newspaper of Glorious Carnage, and 2) the soul of photography itself. Shields’s book is, woe unto all of us, beautiful, even while it shreds your soul in slo-mo.”—Andrei Codrescu
“Hugely brave, persuasive, evocative, War is Beautiful places us inside our skins as the semi-conscious, complicit witnesses we’ve been for these past fourteen years now. Shields’s appropriative gestures have led up to something outer-directed and crucially relevant, making a great argument for their strength as a device for inquiry. The result casts a beautiful light back on everything that got him to this point. An astounding accomplishment.”—Jonathan Lethem