Artistic Identity

Special Pleading/Christian Artists

Identity politics, a cancer on the body politic, is corrosive in the arts as well. All the more disconcerting, then, to find Christian artists recycling a self-indulgent pose similar to that used earlier by gay, black and women artists. Last week’s On the Square column about Fuller Seminary’s Art Immersion project laments “the difficulty of being a theist in the art world.” No such difficulty exists; it is a manufactured complaint. Helen Zajkowski. Tower of Babel (2002). Collaged pop-up booklet intended to “awaken the viewer to new dimensions to the New and Old Testaments.” However appealing to a religious audience, the rhetoric of marginalization is, at best, an overstatement; at worst, dishonest. Continue Reading
CAPC Museé (Cont'd)

Guide books recommend the cafe at Bordeaux’s CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art. That is as it should be. Every asparagus soup radical expects a good lunch. Gathered for Think . . . And See , they will want more to eat than attitude . Monika Droste and Guy Rombouts. Language as Border (1992). Permanent collection of CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain Of the nine participants in this series of speakers, eight out of nine are listed as philosophers. When an art museum sponsors a program that looks like a plenary session of the International Society for Philosophers, you know that ideology, not art making, is the purpose at hand. Continue Reading

. . . myself. This should have been done yesterday, but I hesitated. A weblog is only a humble handmaid, a digital lady-in-waiting beside the door of a print publication. Solemnities need not apply. Besides, I am clumsy at self-introduction. Nevertheless, something is in order so that you know this log did not spring up like a mushroom overnight. I am a painter, as was my father. He descended from a line of British bricklayers who had taken up gentlemanly arts at the Working Men’s College in London prior to World War I. Continue Reading
Lavabo?

I could not believe my eyes at Mass this morning. There in the sanctuary, just behind and to the right (stage left) of the altar, was a bottle of hand sanitizer. It was not tucked discreetly behind a vase of flowers. There were no flowers. Just an economy-sized dispenser of Purell. The Church has distributed the Eucharist for 2,000 years without benefit of ethyl alcohol. But now my parish has it, right up there in a sacred space. The ancient ritual of the priestly Lavabo (“I will wash my hands among the innocent, and will walk around Thy altar, O God.”) was diminished in the name of liturgical renewal years ago. Continue Reading
The Artist as Self-Booster

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT make your way through comment threads, or click through to off-site links, here is the comment by Banksy referred to earlier by reader Sam at the end of a comment thread: // // Whether you agree with it or not, you have to admit it is a bit rich coming from a product of high hype like Banksy. His own work is notable more for its location—on walls or the façades of buildings—than its content.  Continue Reading