Thursday, October 11, 2007

Priest, Psychologist, and Art Critic

The other night on EWTN, Fr. Benedict Groeschel proudly proclaimed that he had never stepped foot in the MoMA, because he couldn't stand looking at all of the ugliness and disorderliness of "modern art". Apparently while he was doing his doctorate in psychology he took some courses in art history and art criticism. I couldn't disagree more with what he said. There is definite order in modern art - it might just not be readily apparent with some artists. Certainly the early work of people like Frank Stella, Leger, and many others, is very rigid and ordered. There is even order in Jackson Pollock paintings as Francis Schaffer showed in How Shall We Then Live. And besides that MoMA has many other paintings in it that are done in a more traditional style that he would probably enjoy. For example, I believe now there is a show of Lucian Freud prints and Seurat drawings. So I don't know what father was talking about in that interview. It really makes no sense to me.

5 comments:

Arturo Vasquez said...

Roman Catholics in particular can have such a knee jerk reactions when it comes to these things. It always pisses me off when I hear them. Just because a thing is contemporary does not mean that it's ugly, nor are all old things beautiful. If you do not look for beauty in places where you don't think you will find it, you will miss out on a whole lot of God's creation.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

I agree. It also seems to be an attitude that comes from an overly conservative mind.

John J. O'Sullivan™ said...

The last time I was there, Monet was in the hiz-owse. Although I normally love Fr. Groeschel's talks, I think he's way off base on this...

-j

Anonymous said...

Father Gordon,

While I agree with you that Fr. Groeschel is "off base" about much of Modern Art, I wonder about your comment "It also seems to be an attitude that comes from an overly conservative mind." Last time I checked, the APA (and the REC) are both CONSERVATIVE ANGLICAN bodies. Now often the RC church is conservative of bad things but being "Conservative" is what we (as REC/APA folks) are!

Chip in Annandale, VA

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Chip,

From my experience there seems to be a correlation between many conservative Christians and a disdain for certain types of modern and postmodern art. I think it is because conservatives are naturally less open to new concepts and ideas. While I consider myself conservative in most ways, I guess I am less conservative in the area of art (though my art is actually quite traditional as far as contemporary art goes). So, there are many different grades of conservatism and liberalism I guess.

Gordon+