QUOTE(Tim Willson @ May 9 2007, 04:16 AM)
Forgive me, but I can't find a thread in which I recall someone's challenge to try to think of any significant artwork that is coming out of our modern era, something substantial enough to merit attention and study centuries from now. I think the questions was, "Name a single piece of significant art from the past 50 year."
So I'll ask again here: inasmuch as we may lack the necessary perspective to make a confident judgment on the matter, I would love to hear whether you think contemporary, 'civilization-class' artwork is among us. Or is our creativity so bland as to render it hbistorically insignificant to future generations?
And a followup... has great art been coming from within the church in recent decades?
The question presupposes that we can know what 24th century critics will consider "significant." And we can't know that, of course.
But given that caveat, sure, I think there is a lot of contemporary art that could
be viewed as significant a few centuries from now. There is, in fact, an embarrassment of riches. The challenge isn't "naming a single piece of significant art from the past 50 years," but rather keeping the list shorter than, say, 1,000 works.
And I'm quite serious about that number. With the explosion of mass media and the ready availability of art -- great, good, bad, and indifferent -- there are an astounding number of works of art that should merit our attention, and the attention of future generations. I'm not particularly well-versed in the visual arts, so I can't comment there, but in music, in film, and in literature there are dozens of truly great works released every year.
And yes, there has been great art coming from the church in the past few decades -- for starters, the music of U2, Bruce Cockburn, and Sufjan Stevens, and in literature the works of Flannery O'Connor, Graham Greene, Walker Percy, Annie Dillard, Marilynne Robinson, Leif Enger, and Frederick Buechner. Of course, these are relatively popular artists, and the highbrows may sniff that they don't merit the attention or the praise. Tell it to Shakespeare or Mozart. But these folks are creating art that is every bit as complex, nuanced, and beautiful as that of the "masters."
The bottom line is that whenever I encounter the "there's no great art these days" lament, my inevitable reaction is that people need to get out more.