Thursday, March 31, 2011

Walking around the art room

One afternoon during team days, we had the opportunity to go to an Andy Warhol exhibition in Southampton. This was a fascinating trip, partly because I didn’t really understand the art nor would I want it hanging on my living room walls. But the best part for me was when one of our relay workers spent the time to explain what she looks for in art and what questions she asks herself about the art. To be honest, I was more fascinated with the process of how to understand the art in front of me rather then the two blocks of colours staring at me. But just because I didn’t find it pleasing to the eye, doesn’t mean that what it’s communicating is not relevant! I appreciate those that enjoy this type of art and I am willing to learn more about it, especially as it affects our culture and our ways of thinking. It’s too primitive for me to believe that I should only listen or look at what I like and ignore all the other voices. 

Gareth Leaney blogs brilliantly about the exhibition here.

With Andy Warhol being such a weight in pop culture, identity and celebrity, means that the audience needs to sit up and listen. Especially the Christian - no more burying your head in the sands of Christian culture, but we need to open our eyes and ears to see and hear that the world is speaking and how they desire for something more.

But will we be a part of the conversation? 
Do we have anything to say?


gazleaney said...

I love this Cat! You've basically hit on the crucial issue - is art a commodity to be consumed (and therefore liked and disliked), or a relationship? If it's a relationship, then whether or not you like a piece can't be the end of your engagement with it.

One of the most influential paragraphs I've ever read was by Francis Schaeffer on this idea. It's pretty much revolutionised the way I think about not just art, but about culture in general (and you've basically summarised it here!):
“These paintings, these poems and these demonstrations which we have been talking about are the expression of men who are struggling with their appalling lostness. Dare we laugh at such things? Dare we feel superior when we view their tortured expressions in their art? Christians should stop laughing and take such men seriously. Then we shall have the right to speak again to our generation. These men are dying while they live, yet where is our compassion for them? There is nothing more ugly than an orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.”

Cat said...

Aw thanks Gareth! Yeh its such a huge question we need to think about when it comes to art: commodity for consumption or a relationship? It will change the way we not just view art, but perhaps everything from media, relationships, work and evangelism etc...esp in a world where we are all seen as consumers!

Schaeffer is brilliant isnt he? and this quote is so challenging! I certainly have to think about this more and chew it over. :) Thanks.