Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Troubled Church

I recently visited a museum in NYC and spoke to a friend who said that she does not like art that is used as commentary for problems in the world today. She felt too many artists use their medium as a way of making social judgements and that that isn't the purpose of art. It struck me, at that moment, that not a few days earlier I had taken the image above, realizing the symbolism of a church behind bars. I, unlike my friend, feel it appropriate to use art in order to invoke conversation. I believe it worthy to discuss powerful and incredibly wealthy, world religions and their abuses. Whether supporting ancient crusades that killed millions, turning their backs on Jews who were slaughtered or ignoring the plight of thousands upon thousands of sexually abused boys and girls who needed protection and nurturing, the structure and power of religious institutions should be of interest. If art can draw out the controversy, rallying those who support and those who criticize, all the better. Through debate, rumours are put to rest, respect is restored, history is learned and people are saved and comforted. What can be wrong with that?


Bridget said...

great image and great commentary.
i say bring on the controversy and lets talk.
good job steve.

trishalyn said...

I agree with you, Steve! In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using art to make a statement. Earlier last century, photography was instrumental in bringing to light the deplorable working conditions/sweatshops in this country, resulting in many positive changes for working class Americans.

As U.S. citizens, we enjoy many freedoms...including freedom of speech. Both you and your friend have the right to express your own opinion. It's a great country, isn't it? Sometimes we're so focused on the negative...on what's wrong with our country...that we forget about what's right with it.

Great posting!!! :-)

Linda said...

I really like the image you've posted and the symbolism of it. I, too, think art can represent anything, whether it "soothes the savage beast" (and yes, I know that saying refers to music), evokes curiosity, encourages social change or is created merely because the artist likes it.

I don't necessarily like all art, but as we've talked about in the past, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and one person's art is another person's trash and vice versa.