Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bad Christian Art

TAKE A LOOK at the posting Why Is Christian Art So Lame These Days?
I mean, it isn't as if Christian art has always been lame. A visit to the Sistine Chapel or a read through Dante or a listen to Mozart will tell you that.

But for some reason, right in the here and now, an enormous amount of Christian art--whether visual, literary, or musical--is just really, really lame.

And it's not driving the culture the way it used to.

Instead, it feels like a shallow copy of secular culture.
Some of the comments:
"I don't think Michelangelo, or Dante, or Mozart would generally regard their work as "Christian Art", but just universal, "regular" art, enlightened by their Faith."
Some reasons given for the poor Christian art these days:
1. Utilitarianism - art has to do something to be worthwhile, mainly evangelize. This preachy art is generally lame.
2. Middle Class Values - the Bible is gritty and R-rated, but Christian Art is G-rated and overly sanitized.
3. A kind of disembodied aesthetic standard, where the actually quality of the art matters not at all, but "what's in the heart".
More comments:
"It is an axiom that contemporary Christian music is an inferior ripoff of secular music...there's a large subclass that will listen only to that, regardless of how good or bad it is."
"Many Catholics do not have an appreciation for beauty that would support an artist."
"How can a largely iconoclast religion make good art? ...I think that many Catholics also suffer from iconoclasm, largely influenced by the Protestant movement that have crept in and a sense of guilt for worshiping "idols.""
"I don't think anyone is going to paint a Church's ceiling with the theme "We're a learning Church". "Last Judgement" - maybe. "All Knees Bowing to the Holy Name of Jesus" - yes! "Learning Church" - not a chance. "Joint Declaration of Faith" - never!"
"Most of Christian art is pretty horrible...because too many Christian artists are trying to merely "Christianize" contemporary styles and/or learning from teachers who laud such styles. ...When I was in college, the fine artists weren't taught to strive for the true, good and/or beautiful."
"Most of the mainstream "Christian" artists (both Catholic and Protestant) are not interested in making great music or works of art, they are interested in being hip and evangelizing in a way that is attractive to the public in general. I've seldom seen or heard a Christian song or work of art that talks about taking one's cross, making sacrifices, challenging the culture, etc. Most of the things on the Christian pop market are all about accepting Christ and be happy, cool and smart."
"Art no longer serves the community as it used to. Artists are not exempt from the two great commandments to love God and to love your neighbor. In the last hundred years or so the focus of art has shifted from serving something greater than itself to serving the artist's own ego."

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