Sacred vs. Religious Art

MICHAEL QUENOT, AN AUTHORITY on the art and Orthodox theology of icons, insists on the primacy of two dimensional images in the visual expression of religious conviction. In The Icon: Window on the Kingdom, he wrote that the two-dimensional iconographic image is “more accessible to mystery.” It is an irritating point to anyone who marvels at the possibility, attested to by modern physics, that we live in ten, possibly eleven, dimensions. We experience three of them—height, length, depth—directly through our senses. Continue Reading
"The Memory Project" in Jerusalem

By Heddy Breuer Abramowitz IN A WELCOME MOVE FOR A VENUE-STARVED CITY, the American Culture Center, an arm of the U.S. Embassy, inaugurated the first art exhibit at its library in Jerusalem. Entitled the “Memory Project I,” artist Robin Press presented an ensemble of prints dealing with childhood memories. The opening included a talk by author Joan Leegant, visiting Writer-in-Residence of the Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar Ilan University. The American-born Press is no stranger to Jerusalem, having lived here for sixteen years. Continue Reading

ART TALK HAS BECOME SO BLOATED with self-consciousness that it hardly counts as conversation any more. Certainly not as the Goncourt brothers understood the word. Not even as it is practiced over a Sam Adams Light at McFadden’s Tap. These days, art talk is known as discourse, a gray, unsmiling thing with the smell of the podium about it. If only Ernest Gellner were still here to do for artspeech what he did for the analyst’s couch in The Psychoanalytic Movement (1985). Continue Reading
Hodgkin, Pieper and Artwriting

The lecture goes back a few years but reminders of it keep arriving. In November, 2003, while he was here for his exhibit at Gagosian, Howard Hodgkin gave a talk at the Frick. The subject was one of those airy things that weigh a ton: an artist’s perspective on the relationship between painting and its audience. The topic presupposes a certain consciousness on the part of painting itself, that it might reach out, as they say, to hold up its part in relationship with you and me. Continue Reading
Hector McDonnell, Ulster Artist

This how the House of Lords ends—in the arts. Hector McDonnell is an established painter, etcher and illustrator born and raised in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Raised in Glenarm Castle to be exact. McDonnell is the younger son of the 13th Earl of Antrim, Ulster’s only aristocratic Catholic titleholder. Hector’s older brother—an architect—is the 14th Earl, still living in the family castle. Glenarm, like so many of England’s great houses, helps pay the heating bills by opening itself to the public at certain times of the year, as well as for weddings and corporate events. Continue Reading