Thursday, October 19, 2006

Nicholas Wolterstorff

I read books slowly, non-fiction books that is. I started reading this book several years ago, read 40 pgs or so, and I just now picked it up again, but anyway, it's an excellent book "towards a christian aesthetic" (the subtitle) and a good critique of modern western notions of art and the artist. Also a good critique of gnostisim:

"This world of colors and texures and shapes and sounds is good for us, good for us in many ways, good also in that it provides us with us with refreshing delight. It is the Platonist and not the Christian who is committed to avoiding the delights of the senses, to take no joy in colors, to avoiding the pleasures to be found in sounds. Delight in the colors and textures of the eucalyptus seed pods, as well as in the scultures of Henry Moore; delight in the sound of the sea, as well as the music of Debussy's La Mer; delight in the rhythms of John Donne's poetry as well as the movements of flowing streams-all contribute to human fulfillment. The Tragedy of modern urban life is not only that so many in our cities are oppressed and powerless, but also that so many have nothing surrounding them in which any human being could possibly take sensory delight. For this state of affairs we who are Christians are as guilty as any. We have adopted a peitistic-materialistic understanding of man, veiwing human needs as the need for a saved soul plus the need for food, clothes and shelter. True shalom is vastly richer than that."
-Art in Action

Here is an excellent lecture by Wolterstroff from the Image 2005 Conference:


Blogger Susan said...

just curious - what do you thnk are the def. charact. of art?

10/19/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Caleb Bell said...

Have you been to Ecclesia? I think that Blythe was going there for a while...

10/23/2006 4:35 PM  
Blogger Stejahen said...

Yikes, that's a big question Susan! But, I would say in some way or another: Beauty, skilled craftmanship, rootedness in materials and fidelity to the world God made.

Also, I would say alot of good art usually tells a story by/through building a self-consistant world. But I don't know.

As far as Wolterstorff's critique of modern notions of art in society, He basically takes issue with the seperation of Art from Life, and the seperation of artist from communities; Art for art's sake (art is far broader then fine art); museums are modern, etc.

Caleb, I have not, looks interesting, I have some 'emergent' friends that talk about it. Also, btw, they have an art gallery that will be hosting one of my favorite artists subway sketches:

Susan, have you been there? (I think you said you knew Blythe from church.)

10/23/2006 8:15 PM  

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