If you are reading Disfiguring to get a survey of art in the 20th century, you are, for a lack of a better word, misreading Taylor's meditation on the connections between art,architecture and religion. Taylor discusses the development of European artistic modernism and its relation to philosophical and theosophical issues to reveal their interlacing connection with one another. Modernism stems, Taylor argues, from German Idealism and its attempt to totalize the world in a promise of a better life. This, combined with theosophy--a mystical, universalizing type of religion--are from the outset at the heart of modernism and modern art. He consequently expands on this position and follows its development up to the present period. Taylor appears to view the creation of art and architecture as being fundamentally religious acts. If this is the case, what does modernism say about who we are in the West? Taylor claims commodification and an obssessive fascination with the rational seem to be a part of what modern art says the West worships. As a "post-modernist" thinker, Taylor examines how we can live religiously without the totalizing claims of modernism, the violence that often comes with a society bent on rationalizing the world, and the deepening relationship between money and identity...He lays out a few suggestions and dicusses how some artists and architects are struggling with the fractured--the torn--condition of the West. A rupturing of the state of affairs in a modernist culture, he appears to say, is not a bad thing--it's maybe even necessary in order for us to understand "spirit" apart from some of the objectives of modernism. This is a remarkable book.