Thursday, May 21, 2009

Balkanized Aesthetics

After surveying art world quirks, Bruce Herman makes an irenic point:
I think a lot of ink could be saved, and a lot of breath too, by simply accepting that the art culture around us is engaged in pursuing what is enjoyable to those who want to participate - and leave it at that.
Etienne Gilson makes the same observation, but from another angle:
Thanks to the fine arts, matter enters by anticipation into something like the state of glory promised to it by theologians at the end of time, when it will be thoroughly spiritualized. A universe having no other function than to be beautiful would be a glorious thing indeed. Those for whom that notion means nothing should not carp at others for dreaming about it and enjoying, in the beauty of works of art, a glimpse of it (33-34).
Both Herman and Gilson suggest that different art worlds, with their accompanying aesthetic languages, should live and let live.

(Those shocked to learn that N.T. Wright was not the first to exploit the new creation trope, deep breaths... deep breaths...)