So I've been taking a contemporary art class to cover some liber studies credits, since that was the best course offered for the quarter. I must say though I have gotten rather captivated by the issues and discussions brought up in the class. I've even come to the conclustion that Christianity has missed as far as I can tell a very advantageous evangelical ground within the Contemporary or Post Modern art movements.There are a lot of meanings questioned and mused over in post modern art that I have found very useful personally in my writings. The meanings of idententy, place, the body, language, and other complex sociological, psycological, and cultural foudations have given me a broader range of characters and story arcs for me to journey through. However all of the work I have seen in this realm unfourtanately addresses a secular and self-cented worldview. Most of them were created with no belief in spirituality whatsoever, but why? If the absence of any faith can be a leigitamite contromporary discussion, what's wrong with the profession of faith?It's hard in general for me personally to percieve art as an "act of faith" in general but I can see how this makes sense. I'm not saying Christian artists need to explore (as our Church is, although the gallery is within/around the sancturary); one can easily profess the word over a artwork that is "read" to profess the compleate opposite, as it brings up the conversation, which means the other person is interested! It would help however if there were more of Christian instillations in the galleries, Museums, and Collectors warehouses.It shouldn't be all that hard either for Christians to witness through the Post Modern arena. Almost anything has value in this world, thanks to the "Museum Effect." Many may not approve of this phenomenon; a rotting shark carcass being placed in a specificied location becomes the spark of profound philosophical debate. Isn't this the same effect though which is what makes a musicial performance worth a hundered dollar ticket not worth a dime in a subway? A couple having intercourse becomes such a God-Gloryifing act when before hand the two peform a few rituals and make a few promises within a group of like-minded members in a ornate bulding over any other building?Certainly then I think this is a great missed opprotunity, for Christians! I wouldn't be suprised if Evangical Christian Contemporary exhibitions become the next Toyota of the art season. The love of Crist can be shown in simpler ways, but it would amazing if someone could open a gallery that made a hardcore post modern connisseur think about it want to dicuss it on a more personal, and less argumentative level!
You just said the magical words. Allan Kaprov. I recently took sculpture last spring and our final was scuplture in public. I choose a happening, and my happen was small but it was fun despite how sick I was. And the most modern happens right now, are zombie walks, and Improv everywhere. My dad was saying we should start a thing in our church because we have a lack of youth in our group. I mean like teens, colleges kids, and the little ones.
Yep, Subjective indeed, it all depends on the tastes, even with all the honesty, the arrangment and critiques. Concept art and conceptial is usually that catergory you just describe. You really have to understand the concept before understanding the work. But I love the conceptualize. Like at Moma (I believe), there was this one amazing work that was genius. The concept is like rebuilding itself or tearing apart. And the medium was wood and not just any wood. The artist took pieces of wood from a burnt down church building, hang it on wire, and make it so it looks like a cube shape. It was like admist all the burning, the church is in chaos yet rebuilding itself. Its pretty darn amazing. So yea knowing about the creator or its meaning isn't bad persay.
But yea, maybe there are times where we over do it..
"I would rather make change and conversation out in the world, where the people are."
Yes, well... aren't galleries and museums filled with people?
The beauty of "objects" is that their impact continues through the years. John Waterhouse's, and Winslow Homer's works still speak as powerfully as they did when they were just painted. William Story's sculptures still make people stop in awe. Of course the museum or the gallery is looking to monetize it all, but that in no way should strip these things of their value.
The role art plays has changed over the centuries. There was a time when art was meant to glorify an ideal, or simply to capture beauty. It was about the work itself. The power of "David" is found in the statue itself, no prior knowledge of Michelangelo is even necessary. The work speaks for itself. ...The same with Rembrandt, or Larsson, or Gerome. The work was the thing.
But now art is meant as a means to social change. The message is not so much found in the work, per se, but in the artist. Now in order to appreciate a work, we have to know its creator or its meaning. I think that is a scam.
I wrote an article that touches on this a bit about 8 years ago for the Art Renewal Center. You can check it out here.
But, when it comes down to it... art is incredibly subjective. To each his own, I suppose, which is why this conversation will continue in the ages to come.
I've thought about this as well. However, for myself, I am less interested in galleries. Or maybe a better way of putting it is, I am unsure of them at this moment in my career. I think the art world (the art market) puts a lot of emphasis on the art "objects"- things that can be given a set value, and more importantly, things that can be sold for profit. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am just not entirely sure I am interested in only making objects to be put in a museum to collect dust. I would rather make change and conversation out in the world, where the people are. I am still grasping at how to do this as a visual artist, however.
I've recently been reading a book called "Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art" (Suzanne Lacey) which describes this kind of art-making. It's almost 20 years old now, but its got a lot of great essays about the role of "public art" and the role art can have in changing communities. I got this quote from it (parentheses and emphasis mine):
"The way to get to the issue [ie: faith] is sometimes organized and structural [galleries], but often it has to do with compassion, with play, and with touching the inner self of every individual who ever recognizes that the next individual has a similar self. And it is that community, literal or metaphorical, that is in fact the real public we artists address." -Allan Kaprow
What this kind of art looks like is still wide open I think. Allan Kaprow has done a lot of installation and performance art; and I think it would be highly enlightening to see what a Christian could do with his mantra of "touching the inner selves of every individual". Christian performance art and installation could be incredible as well! I think we should be open to many kinds of expression; and work together to achieve these in all contexts, not just galleries or museums. "Art as life", if you will.
I was about to say that art just ment skill or craft, but then again, you sort of said it.
Well, from alot of my teachers, what art was about was it used to be celibrating the kings or the gods of some sort and not as much as expression. I see this alot in asian art history. But then gradually as we go towards the modern period, art is now about expressing your self.
But what art is about, doesn't of course define what art is, which you showed very clearly.
This is why for my critical thinking class, as much as I love art, I didn't choose that topic for an essay. It soo personal and aestetically applied that its very sensitive to talk about.
OH I love John Singer Sargent now after see his work in the Deyong Museum. Its soo darn pretty.
I have some thoughts on this "modern art" thing...
One word that you never hear in the what-is-art discussion is "discipline".
Only in the visual arts- specifically, in the painting/sculpture worlds- can anyone do anything and claim that it is art.
Yet, let's take that idea and put it in any of the other arts, and let's see what happens. ...A person picks up a trumpet and and wants to express himself with its sound. He pours all his emotion into the blowing- with no structure, no rhythm, no adherence to musical forms- he is simply emoting. Is it art? Is it music? ...The same with dance. A person dons some tights (or not) and and wants to express himself with his body. He pours all his emotion into moving- with no structure, no rhythm, no adherence to forms of dance- he is simply emoting. Is it art? Is it dance?
Now, a person does exactly the same thing as above, yet does NOT call it art. He just does it, but the results are the same... is it still art?
Does calling something art make it art? Or does art involve work. Hard work. Discipline.
Miles Davis is regarded as one of the most talented men ever to blow a horn. Why? His emotions are not worth more than anyone else's. No, because he put a LIFETIME of discipline into blowing that horn. Study. Hard work.
An artist is one who dedicates his life to his craft, and one who reaches a certain level of skill (yes, skill) that is not common among men.
Very few can ever paint like John Singer Sargent. Many WANT to, many STRIVE to, but very few ever do.
Modern art to me is a deconstruction of art. It is not about lifting men to the stage, but lowering the stage to men.
In my opinion it is a means by which people can attain the status and respect given by the title "artist" without actually having the skill level, discipline, and vision that true artists possess.
And just because someone wants to emote, doesn't make it art.
"Modern art? or Modern technology?"
I soo agree on postmodernism. I can say anything can be a piece of art work. Ive seen already soo many weird things, (like bansky, art work like the happening) to say that it isn't art.
Although for my classes, I hate when teacher say, "It doesn't have to be a realistic tree. It can be what you want it to be." I want a realistic tree.
And yea, we should have more christian art. Although if you want to see that culturally, italy may have some of course. Still, would love to see siku, or the redr's artwork on the walls somewhere.
I worked out the outline of a proposal of how a church or ministry could sponsor an artshow to either attract attention to their group, or even use it to generate funds for charitable causes. I've only shared it with a few people and once I finish up the Eye Witness series, hopefully will be able to put my idea into practice here in the DFW area, just to see if I can perfect something that can be duplicated by minstries all over the country.
But taking to the next step, (having a gallery showing Christian works on a constant basis) could work, but it would take a lot of study on location and demograhics and most likely need a person or group to underwrite it for a year or two till it can get upto speed.
Scott A. Shuford said:
God is moving in a major way right now within the arts and through churches.
Check out the Grove Center movement: http://thegrovecenter.ning.com/ which is networking artists together. Also check out Visual Story Network which is more specifically visual arts.
The church as a general statement has definitely missed the boat, but God has not. He is moving in all areas of the arts in a precurser to revival in the U.S., IMHO.