Archive for the 'Art Criticism' Category

CAC Perspectives: Can Modern Art and Religion Get Along?

The December issue of Chicago Artists’ News contains another installment of “Perspectives,” a column in which invited artists, critics, gallerists, and other art-world figures weigh in on an issue or phenomenon that has caught their attention.

This month, James Elkins of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago addresses what he takes to be the “largest issue in art education”: the lack of dialogue between contemporary art and religion. We’d like to know what ArtStyle readers think about this issue. Is there space for genuine religious content in contemporary art? Or is contemporary art inimical to sincere religious expression? How might art writing accommodate religion? What exactly accounts for the gap between modern art and religion?

Jeremy Biles, Editor
Chicago Artists’ News

Bridging the Gap Between Modern Art and Religion
by James Elkins

As a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I've noticed that art students who make work with religious or spiritual significance often can't get interesting criticism. Their instructors will often shy away from religious or spiritual themes, and talk instead about safe things like color and form. At the professional level, if artists make work that is infused with religious themes, they typically cannot get shows in the main art galleries, or places in biennales or art fairs.

Piss Christ
Andres Serrano, Piss Christ, 1987, Cibachrome, silicone, plexiglass, wood frame 60 x 40 inches (152.4 x 101.6 cm); framed: 65 x 45 1/8 inches (165.1 x 114.6 cm) ASE/N-42-A-PH. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery.

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Arts in the Media: Power of Art

We've been watching the PBS art series Simon Schama's The Power of Art, which airs on Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. Schama says, “This is not a series about things that hang on walls; it is not about decor or prettiness. It is a series about the force, the need, the passion of art — the power of art.”

Each week we stroll along the streets and alleys with Schama in Spain, Rome, France, England, or another locale, as he describes and examines the lives of artists in their historical, cultural, and social milieus. He takes us on a sweeping cinematic voyage back in time, and we become omniscient viewers observing the lives, obsessions, and desires of these artists, portrayed by actors re-enacting turning points in the artists' lives and creating works that defined them at the height of their powers.
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