2014

Panel of horses facing each other. Chauvet Cave.

The hand is the window on to the mind. —Immanuel Kant
Early man is our brother, body and soul. We beckon to him down the void of time, craving a glimpse of that epochal moment the human creature confessed, in his being, the image and likeness of God. A Paleolithic premise of ourselves, he gestures back; he signs to us with the work of his hands. Whatever meanings—part discovery, part projection—we pull from his works, one thing is indisputable: Our brother was gifted with an aesthetic sense. Continue Reading
Illustration for Theatre World (September 1927) by Bovey.

Transparency is more appealing in concept than in practice—at least as it applies to backstage doings at the Sheen Center. Judging from email responses, the Sheen is a great yawn to readers of First Things. No grand Truth is at risk in the matter. No heady policy positions. The only truths in play are those gnarled and spotted ones of human designs. Besides, mention of co-founder and erstwhile director Michael Hull points to disagreeable details better left in the dark. Do we need another scandal? Continue Reading
high steel cross

Here in my email this morning is an unhappy note from a Carmelite priest serving in a suburb of Dublin. He is terse. “Hatred of the Church in Ireland” is his only comment. No more words are needed given the accompanying article by Tim O’Brien that appeared yesterday in The Irish Times. It reports on the recent cutting down of a high steel cross erected some four decades ago on Carrountoolhil, County Kerry’s highest mountain. It had taken some one hundred people to put it in place in 1976 and had been televised as a major event at the time. Continue Reading
Albert Kahle macrame

It has been ten years since The Onion published its spoof of controversies over NEA-funded antics. By the time it appeared in 2004, audiences were pretty well accustomed to what Hilton Kramer once termed “a jolly rape of public sensibilities.” Writing in 1996, Kramer declared it almost went without saying that the “America-as-merde” tenor of so much recognized art arrives supported by NEA grants. That was also the year a professor at Bates College, William Pope, received a $20.000 grant for two performance pieces: In one, he would chain himself to an ATM machine in his underwear. Continue Reading
Charles II (Charles the Bad) Preaching to Clerics (14th C.). Biblioteque Nationale, Paris.

Now is it official. There is no need for more speculation about the whereabouts of Michael Hull, the disappearing pastor of Manhattan’s Guardian Angel parish and director of the Sheen Center. The Scottish Episcopal Church has announced the appointment of Dr. Hull as its Director of Studies. He is currently living out his baptismal call by Skype at the Mercer School of Theology on Long Island. The former monsignor conducts classes through the ether from his conjugal home in northern Italy. Continue Reading