Art

Menachem Wecker 8-08-2017

Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado's Goya galleries, including "The Second of May" and "The Third of May." Courtesy of the Prado.

More than 50 years later, California still lists lethal gas as a legal execution means. So do five other states: Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, although Mississippi and Oklahoma, which use nitrogen hypoxia, don’t use that term. (More on that below). I learned this as I searched on my phone standing in front of John Singer Sargent’s monumental 1919 painting “Gassed,” which is on display in the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition “W​orld War I Beyond the Trenches” (through Sept. 3).

Art and Christianity give our lives import and meaning, irrespective of power, race, gender or class. Jesus did this when he overturned the Greek and Roman way of viewing the world, in which one’s social status was everything, and introduced the notion of the equal worth and dignity of all human beings. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all (Col. 3:11),” wrote Paul. All people made in the image and likeness of God, “lovely in limbs."

Image via Joy Guion Bailey

My primary medium is portrait photography, and during my sessions I draw people out by asking questions about their very literal story. What is delightful for you in this season? What is hard? What I’ve found happen in these conversations is that decades of untended pain or suppressed pleasures begin to break forth, find air, and heal as needed or grow.

Da'Shawn Mosley 3-03-2017

Image via The Shack Facebook.

The Gospel isn’t simplistic, and its representations shouldn’t be, either. If The Shack were created with this creed in mind, perhaps it would be a better work of art. Instead, sadly, it’s nothing more than a religious tract.

the Web Editors 1-19-2017

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides nationwide access to public radio, television, and other non-commercial telecommunications services. The National Endowment for the Arts provides Americans with funding needed to engage with the arts and facilitate arts projects. The National Endowment for the Humanities provides funding to museums, libraries, and institutions of higher learning to promote study of the humanities.

David Van Biema 1-05-2017
A long hallway shows Fujimura's art

Makoto Fujimura’s "Silence and Beauty" is mineral pigments and gesso on canvas, two 7'x11' panels, 2016. Photo courtesy of Robert Puglisi

Today, Fujimura is the most successful serious artist of openly evangelical faith in the U.S., and probably in the world. His larger paintings sell for up to $400,000 and defy the secular art establishment’s unspoken commandment: Thou shalt not reward an artist who claims explicit Christian inspiration.

Da'Shawn Mosley 12-21-2016

Image via Disney - ABC Television Group/flickr.com

Let us not forget the impact that D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation had on America when it was released in 1915. An adaptation of the novel The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan, there’s little doubt in my mind that the film’s racist depictions of African Americans and affirming depictions of Klansmen formed and hardened the discriminatory beliefs of many white people in the U.S., making them further believe that black people were undeserving of fairness, respect, and freedom. The Birth of a Nation is a prime example of why we need new stories, told from the perspective of identities that are generally ignored and denigrated.

Da'Shawn Mosley 11-02-2016

Image via Debbie Allen's "Freeze Frame - Stop the Madness" Facebook

The project which Allen spoke of, titled Freeze Frame…Stop the Madness, is a work of theatre written, choreographed, and directed by Allen that combines cinema, dance, and music into a stage performance inspired by the issues of race and gun violence in America. Freeze Frame opened at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 27 and, on Oct. 24, Allen visited the Center for American Progress, in the nation’s capital, to discuss Freeze Frame’s creation and the impact she hopes the show will have on the U.S.

Brent Plate 6-09-2016

"The Garden of Earthly Delights" triptych. Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Hieronymus Bosch may have died 500 years ago, but he’s inspired episodes of The Simpsons, rock ’n’ roll lyrics, children’s book characters, movies from The Exorcist to David Fincher’s Seven — even Dr. Martens boot designs. Last year when Leonardo DiCaprio visited Pope Francis, the actor brought along a book about Bosch as a gift for the pontiff.

How does an artist who has been dead for half a millennium pull off such a feat?

Image via Elchino Pomares / RNS

An artist who converted an abandoned church in Spain into an indoor skateboarding park is defending the project against critics who consider it an act of desecration.

Caravaggio's "The Seven Acts of Mercy." Public domain image

If Pope Francis wanted a single image to illustrate the special Year of Mercy that is the current focus of his ministry and, indeed, the theme at the heart of his pontificate, he could do no better than choosing an underappreciated masterpiece by the thrilling Italian artist known as Caravaggio.

David Van Biema 3-10-2016

Image via Thames & Hudson / RNS

It is not easy to be a respected member of the art-world intelligentsia and take religion seriously.

“Religion and modern art continue to be typecast as mortal enemies,” writes Aaron Rosen.

the Web Editors 3-04-2016

1. WATCH: How Stealing Elections Became Legal

Sojourners - How Stealing Elections Became Legal | Facebook on Facebook

2. ...And Do Something About It

Are you as outraged as we are about the state of voting rights? Join us in calling on your governor to protect everyone’s right to vote in your state.

Cindy Brandt 1-28-2016

Graffiti on the wall of the abandoned building in Zelenogorsk City, Russia. TatyanaKokoulina / Shutterstock.com

Of course good art is in the eye of the beholder, but I define good art to be creations of paint, music, or stories that speak profoundly to the human condition and break open our imagination beyond what already is. Much of what is qualified as “Christian” art or music has instead done the opposite. It shuts down possibilities by offering a script to be consumed. Instead of creating space for genuine exploration of questions about God — who God is, what God does, where God can be found, etc. — Christian art supplies manufactured answers in a new marketing package. We have struggled to rise up into a prophetic imagination to speak against the dominant consumer culture. If anything, the subculture has been subsumed by consumerism.

the Web Editors 12-02-2015

Image via Brandalism

The French government has banned mass gatherings during COP21 in Paris. So protesters have gotten creative.

The organization Brandalism has posted 600 pieces of artwork and fake advertisements all over the city that mimic real advertisements but actually denounce politicians and corporations for their apathy toward climate change.

Robert Hirschfield 8-11-2015

TUVIA RUEBNER HAS earned the lament he wrote for King David, Israel’s better-known sorrow bearer. The poet came into the world 91 years ago in Pressburg-Bratislava, Slovakia, under Nazism’s shadow. It is a shadow he managed to separate himself from physically, but which sticks to him philosophically and is at the core of his poetry. The parched sound of random loss is the root sound in many of his poems. The spawn of an unimaginable yesterday, Tuvia Ruebner is more than anything a poet of today.

His parents, his grandparents, and his little sister Litzi all perished at Auschwitz in 1942, a year after he immigrated to British Mandate Palestine. Forty years after their deaths, Ruebner’s first son, Moran, was sent to fight in Israel’s first Lebanese war. Moran left for South America the following year, estranged from his country and its wars, and after a few letters, was never heard from again.

In Ruebner’s poem “[My father was murdered],” one by one he enumerates his losses:

The Editors 5-07-2015

Ibeyi by XL Recordings / The Collected Sermons of Walter Bruggemann, Volume 2 by Westminster John Knox / And The Word Became Color: Exploring the Bible with Paper, Pen, and Paint by Debby Topliff / Faith Forward Volume 2: Re-imagining Children's Youth Ministry by CopperHouse

Scott Christian 4-10-2015
Photo via Fotocafe Photography / RNS

A collection of Julia Chew is showcased during 2015 Christian Fashion Week. Photo via Fotocafe Photography / RNS

If someone offered you the chance to live in a world designed to look and feel like the real one, but is actually a tidier, more ordered Stepford-ish facsimile, would you take it? For many Christians today, the answer appears to be yes.

Call it Newton’s Third Law of modern Christianity, but for every event, there appears to be an equal and opposite corresponding Christian event. There are Christian music festivals and book festivals; Christian versions of TED Talks; the upcoming International Christian Film Festival in Orlando, Fla.; and earlier this month, even a Christian Fashion Week.

While it might seem tempting for Christians to lock themselves away in anti-secular bubbles, where they could wear nothing but Christian clothing and eat nothing but Christian food (Chick-fil-A, I’m guessing?), the ramifications of doing so are polarizing at best, and deeply destructive at worst.

Just look at the recent spate of religious freedom laws being passed around the country. Regardless of whether you view the RFRAs as discriminatory or necessary, the nut of their existence essentially boils down to separateness.

At their core, they are laws designed to keep one group of people from being forced to interact with another.

Jenna Barnett 3-11-2015

The destruction and looting of art and historical sites in Syria is " the worst cultural disaster since the Second World War,” according to anthropologist Brian L. Daniels.

Doris Bartel 7-07-2014

How community theater helped change a centuries-old tradition of kidnapping girls for marriage.

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