Saturday, July 10, 2010

discuss: "all art is either spiritual or decorative"

i recently renewed my membership with CIVA (i generally do so every 2 years so that I can be in their bi-annual artists' directory - hopefully that will one day lead to more connections to other artists of faith). as part of that purchase, i ordered the last few issues of their magazine, CIVA SEEN. in the introductory essay of issue vol IX.2, there is the following statement:
"all art is either spiritual or decorative"
personally, i love these kinds of absolute, polarizing statements. i love it when people actually take a position. that creates opportunity for discussion. then again, i think that the more one argues (and by argue, i mean "to make clear"; implying a process of reasoning), the more truth emerges. those kinds of statements position and place us, and force us to examine [exactly] where we stand on an issue, or what we think or believe about certain ideas. and what we don't.

naturally, i am interested in many of the concepts and tensions raised by this statement: ideas around art, faith and spirituality; the sublime; notions of Truth and Beauty; the fear of kitsch and use of the colloquial and commonplace; audiences and community; art's use and function; the connecting between creativity and spirituality. i think this statement circles around many of these ideas, and hints at the tension between communicating something and the way in which we do that, without saying one is more important than the other (though we might disagree). the more i think through this statement, the more i think it is touching on something quite substantially important regarding the content and purpose of art. do you agree with the above statement? why or why not?