The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Reviewing Contemporary Christian Art
Keep your eye on Dan Siedell, a Christian art historian and museum curator. He has a nice review piece at Books & Culture on two books featuring artists associated with CIVA.

Along the way he has this spot-on observation:

There is also a to demonize unnecessarily the history of modern art and the contemporary art world against which the writer then posits an idealized Christian artistic past and present. In troubling ways, this Christian perspective requires a certain kind of art world against which to react. In addition to giving it more power than it actually possesses, this approach tends to flatten out the contemporary art world, turning it into a single, monolithic "thing" that is "out there" while at the same time discouraging artists and critics from self-critically assessing how and in what ways "Christian art" is itself a part of this art world.

This is one thing I have found in a lot (the majority?) of art coming from CIVA artists and other artists associated with CCCU institutions: they vacillate between being infatuated with contemporary art on the one had (which they might see as a necessity, if they want to show their stuff in the "important" and/or "cool" art galleries), or being reactionary in a sort of half-hearted way. This leaves them doing a mondernish/contemporary-ish art which is thin and strangely out of step. As Gregory Baus recently observed, we are better of forgetting (for the most part) the contemporary art scene and seek to serve the aesthetic needs of our brother and sisters (and not what they think they need...)