Monday, April 26, 2004

That exhibit was horrible... God must exist.

Robert Jenson is a theologian - the good one... I mean a good one, who makes some clarifying comments about the "What?" experience so many of us have when looking at what today passes for art:
Were there no Creator and so no creation, no standard world, artists would need to do no work. It marked the end of high modernism, when the brilliant Marcel Duchamp simply lost faith in painting and sculpting, and picked up a urinal to hang on the exhibition wall. Why labor to sculpt or paint, when the world is full of things that already have interesting and complex shapes... if there is no standard by which to prefer one shape to another? Much sold or exhibited as art in the last thirty years or so is the product of deliberate metaphysical nihilists, who explicitly do not think they need to work to make art, and who, if they can be said to construe an alternative world, construe a void.
Jenson continues:
It may, by the way, be an evidence that this nihilism is false, that is, an evidence that there is God, that this art is so very bad.
In other words, the artist's abandonment of the necessary "work" involved in conveying the natural order results in "art" whose utter banality testifies to the reality of the order it has attempted to subvert... and (one might infer) indirectly to the Creator behind that order. I find it an interesting suggestion. The full article is available from the IJST.