As I was catching up on some old e-mails, I came across one from the Summit Alumni Network (see Summit Brain Training for more information), I came across a great way to view art, specifically postmodern art. I’ve been to modern art museums and personally, random paint splatters on a canvas doesn’t speak to me artistically. But Summit grad Laura Clawson brings up a great point when she mentioned this in an interview with the Summit Alumni Network:
I live in Minneapolis; we have a really great music and arts culture. And we have a great modern art museum. It is the ultimate modern art museum, you walk in and it’s angles, bleach white walls, minimalistic. If you’re looking for modern art style, this is the place to go. I could walk in and think, “Everything is trash. Modern art, death of a culture. They obviously have no talent.” But I think, “hold on, there might be a different way to look at this.” When I talk about a work of art telling the truth about that culture and when I walk into a modern art museum and I am seeing these pictures of modern art, they might not be excellent or agreeable with style and content, but it is definitely telling the truth about what a postmodern world looks like.
How can I bring Christianity into the modern art world? First, by having the humility to walk in there and ask, “tell me what this is like to live in a postmodern world?” That humility is necessary, especially when approaching art. And then, after understanding the answer asking, “Is this true or is this false?” I think that approaching what we would call “secular art” with a little more humility, asking, “what is this person offering,” that is one way to show that we care about art. That we’re not just Christians throwing everything out of the door like it’s just trash and that the person who made it is also trash, that we care about this artist, and care to engage it. The first step is humility on the side of Christianity. And the Christians to admit that maybe we’ve glossed over some things. And then courage as the second thing, to speak out when it is time to speak out and to not be afraid to have those conversations. [a]
This is a fantastic point. When we’re tempted to look at art as pointless and trash, let’s consider for a moment what the artist is trying to communicate to us; in this case, what a postmodern world looks like. Consider that living in a postmodern world would not make much sense (much like the art you might see in a modern art museum), but that’s the point that is to be made. We may disagree with the artist on whether it’s a good thing to live in a postmodern culture, and that’s fine. But let’s not forget to recognize the purpose (ironically) that these works of art represent, despite concessions we might have to the contrary of that purpose.
To read the rest of the interview: Laura Clawson Interview – Summit Alumni Network
Laura’s Blog: Lenses and Lookingglasses
[a]: Summit Alumni Network, “Laura Clawson Interview.” September 2015. http://www.summitalumninetwork.org/laura-clawson-interview.html. Web.