Monday, March 17, 2014

Letting art be art

An important consequence of the church's approach to modern and contemporary art is that in its commentators' zeal to engage it through certain philosophical, theological, or political perspectives, they have tended to reduce art to visual illustrations of propositional truths better expressed in other forms, usually words. This kind of soft iconoclasm, which is distrustful of letting art be art, has led to an impoverished ability to experience both the aesthetic presence of much of modern and contemporary art and to write about it allusively, expansively, and suggestively, recognizing that art is a distinctive mode of cognition and knowledge about the world. As George Steiner provocatively observed, art is a dangerous thing that can take over our inner house and transform us.

Daniel Siedell
God in the Gallery
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