Art is the clearest and most immediate reflection of the spiritual life of a people. It exercises the greatest conscious and unconscious influence on the masses of the people . . . . In its thousandfold manifestations and influences it benefits the nation as whole.
~ Adolph Hitler
Hitler was an aesthete. He would have found much to approve in papal encomia to artists as “custodians of beauty” (Benedict) or “ingenious creators of beauty” (John Paul II).
An ardent patron of the arts, Hitler drew around him men with an aesthetic bent. Continue Reading
“Woe to me if I do not evangelize”
1 Cor 9:16
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.
Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler “(1978)
Two thousand years apart, the verses complement each other. St.Paul was a canny evangelist. He knew when to fold (on circumcision and table laws) and when to hold his ground. Continue Reading
AN ATTENTIVE READER SENT ALONG notice of a new grad course offering at Portland State University in Oregon. The PSU link came with a wry: “Figured you’d like this.”
Well, yes, I guess you could say I like it. But only because it confirms my contention that art is increasingly not about art at all. It is fast becoming a variant of community organizing by soi-disant promoters of their own notions of the common good. Thanks to the reader, here is more to testify that distaste for that word practice, spreading like a cancer through curriculum lists, is fitting. Continue Reading
INFLATION IN THE ARTS IS OF A PIECE WITH INFLATION IN ACADEMIA. The upcoming College Art Association, in New York this year, has just mailed out its conference information.
Scheduled for the first day of the conference are workshops on the important things: finding a job, keeping it, and getting grants. One of them aims at all the newly minted MFA’s: Job Hunt 101: Essential Steps in Securing a Job in the Arts. As night follows day, the next morning brings: Grant Writing for Artists. Continue Reading
WITH THE ELECTION RETURNS LARGELY IN, this seems a good time to revisit “The Art of Obama Worship,” by Michael J. Lewis. Published in Commentary, September, 2009, the essay took off from Shepard Fairey’s iconic, Warhol-like poster of Obama in red, white and blue:
From the beginning, the Obama campaign invested much thought in its visual strategy. To portray him as a radically transformative deliverer, a figure of redemptive promise, was a natural course of action, his appearance comfortably matching his rhetoric. Continue Reading