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Technicians of Ecstasy: Shamanism and the Modern Artist

by Mark Levy

Buy the book: Mark Levy. Technicians of Ecstasy: Shamanism and the Modern Artist

Release Date: September, 1993

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Mark Levy. Technicians of Ecstasy: Shamanism and the Modern Artist

An enthralling, well written subject

I found Mr. Levy's work on shamanic techniqes as it applies to contempoary artists particularly fascinating. His research navigates the theory that mondern artists (visual as well as performance) such as Van Gogh, Kahlo, Dali and others were able to produce the transcendental content of their work through classic shamanic practices. Mr. Levy clearly illustrates the multiplicity of the creative process therein giving reverence and relevance to shamanic techniqes and towards the comprehension and appreciation of modern art. A must read for any art appreciator!

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Well-researched and academically argued

Although the casual reader (that is, a lazy reader looking for easy, New-Agey content) might find Levy's book too rigorous and academic, I felt that he was scrupulous and thorough in making a case for his theory that many contemporary artists use traditional shamanic techniques to achieve the spiritual and metaphysical content in their work. The profiles of individual artists and their specific uses of certain techniques or processes was especially illuminating, and I appreciated the fact that he included seminal figures like Joseph Beuys and performance artists like Karen Finley-- whose radical content sometimes obscures the powerful social critique it carries. Levy was clear in revealing how work by an individual can heal or benefit an audience of viewers or an entire community. The sections in the back of the book wherein he describes specific shamanic techniques in detail for those who want to experiment with them was especially valuable. Contrary to what another reviewer wrote, there was nothing spacey, indulgent or Druidic about this scholarly work!

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