The Via Dolorosa by Jon McNaughton

The Via Dolorosa by Jon McNaughton by Seth Adam Smith –
The Via Dolorosa features over 100 figures–men and women that have left their footprint on Christianity. The man in the middle represents the modern Christian…a man who must make a choice. It takes courage to be a Christian in today’s society.

The man in this painting, puts his hand on the shoulder of Christ because Jesus is the source of his strength. The man holds up his right arm as if to say, “Be still, for I know that Jesus is the Christ!”

Says Jon McNaughton, “I got the idea for this painting as I walked through a street in Jerusalem called the Via Dolorosa. This is the road where traditionally Christ carried his cross about 2,000 years ago. I thought to myself: ‘If I had been alive then, would I have watched from a comfortable distance or would I have come to His defense?’

Today, true Christians are the most persecuted people in the entire world. Yet many of us stand idly by as we are mocked and persecuted for what we know to be true. [Read more…]

Beauty and Desecration

City Journal | Roger Scruton | Spring 2009
We must rescue art from the modern intoxication with ugliness.

At any time between 1750 and 1930, if you had asked an educated person to describe the goal of poetry, art, or music, “beauty” would have been the answer. And if you had asked what the point of that was, you would have learned that beauty is a value, as important in its way as truth and goodness, and indeed hardly distinguishable from them.

Philosophers of the Enlightenment saw beauty as a way in which lasting moral and spiritual values acquire sensuous form. And no Romantic painter, musician, or writer would have denied that beauty was the final purpose of his art. [Read more…]

Why the art world is a disaster

New Criterion | Roger Kimball | June 2007

It is now that we begin to encounter the fevered quest for novelty at any price, it is now that we see insincere and superficial cynicism and deliberate conscious bluff; we meet, in a word, the calculated exploitation of this art as a means of destroying all order. The mercenary swindle multiples a hundredfold, as does the deceit of men themselves deceived and the brazen self-portraiture of vileness.
—Hans Sedlmayr, Art in Crisis

Some of what she said was technical, and you would have had to be a welder to appreciate it; the rest was aesthetic or generally philosophical, and to appreciate it you would have had to be an imbecile. —Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution

Last month, a friend telephoned and urged me to travel to Bard College to see “Wrestle,” the inaugural exhibition mounted to celebrate the opening of “CCS Bard Hessel Museum,” a 17,000-square-foot addition to the college art museum. It sounded, my friend said, spectacularly awful. She’d just had a call from her husband, a Bard alum, who had zipped through the exhibition while doing some work at the college. Huge images of body parts—yes, those body parts—floating on the walls of a darkened room, minatory videos of men doing things—yes, those things—to each other, or to themselves, all of it presented in the most pretentious fashion possible. It really was something … special.

[Read more…]

Music and God

Compelling story. Bluegrass lovers (I have only a passing interest) take note:

http://media.kcrw.com/audio/wm/pc061226Andy_Statmans_Journe

Link is an audio program.

Appeasement at the Opera

Wall Street Opinion Journal Roger Kimball September 28, 2006

Mozart falls victim to fear of Muslim rage.

About the only thing less pleasing than having to sit through Hans Neuenfels’s production of Mozart’s 1781 opera “Idomeneo” is the news that Berlin’s Deutsche Oper, citing an “incalculable” security risk from enraged Muslims, has decided to cancel its scheduled showing of the piece.

[Read more…]

Looking Through a Lens

Wall Street Opinion Journal September 19, 2006

Talking over 9-11.One 9/11 picture, thousands of words: Rorschach of meanings.

Faith in the camera as an infallible eyewitness was supposed to have died for good with the advent of Photoshop. Critics have opined for years that the popularity of such digital trickery would erode the truth value of all photographs. What attorney would risk introducing an 8-by-10 print as evidence of a murder scene if jury members knew how to rotate bodies and paintbox skin tones on their home computers?

[Read more…]

‘Thought to Have Merit’ – An English sculptor loses his head

Wall Street Opinion Journal Lionel Shriver June 20, 2006

LONDON–Once in a while a news story so speaks for itself that it threatens to put commentators out of a job.

The curators thought this was art.In this year’s summer show at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, “Exhibit 1201″ is a large rectangular tablet of slate with a tiny barbell-shaped bit of boxwood on top. Its creator, David Hensel, must be pleased to have been selected from among some 9,000 applicants for the world’s largest open-submission exhibit of contemporary art. Nevertheless, he was bemused to discover that in transit his sculpture had gotten separated from its base. Judging the two components as different submissions, the Royal Academy had rejected his artwork proper–a finely wrought laughing head in jesmonite–and selected the plinth. “It says something about the state of visual arts today,” said Mr. Hensel. He didn’t say what. He didn’t need to.

Art gallery loses its head, displays plinth

Yahoo Thursday June 15, 2006

LONDON (Reuters) – One of Britain’s most prestigious art galleries put a block of slate on display, topped by a small piece of wood, in the mistaken belief it was a work of art.

[Read more…]

Bang or whimper

Ed. Anyone who has ever seen the Pompidou Center, or wonders about the chaos of so much modern architecture, will appreciate this essay.

The New Criterion Theodore Dalrymple

Not having seen every building in the world, I cannot positively assert that the Centre Pompidou in the Place Beaubourg in Paris is the worst, but I should be surprised if anyone were able to point to a building that was very much worse.

[Read more…]

Right-Wingtips

By Mark Gauvreau Judge
Published 1/4/2006 12:06:14 AM

I am a conservative metrosexual.

As most people know, a metrosexual is a heterosexual man who has good taste in art and music, and likes to pamper himself with nice clothes and expensive grooming. There’s only one drawback: I can’t stand much of the so-called common-man culture celebrated by the Right.

I fully realized I’m a conservative metrosexual — let’s call me a metrocon for short — a few weeks ago. The Gretchen Wilson song “Redneck Woman” came on the radio. This tune, a hard-charging boogie-woogie number, is a celebration of crude behavior, a kind of red-state aria of defiance against the staid, snobby, and civilized. The woman in the song boasts about shopping at Wal-Mart, keeping the Christmas lights on the house all night long, and standing in the front yard barefoot “with a baby on my hip.”

I had an immediate, visceral hatred of the song. It represented the one thing I truly cannot stand about modern conservatism: its defense of anything dumb, tacky, and second-rate, as long as it comes from “the people.” The common man is deified by the right. NASCAR, an absolutely idiotic “sport” which consists, as the joke goes, of “a bunch of rednecks makin’ left turns,” is hailed as red state America’s favorite pastime — and ipso facto comparable to the Olympics of ancient Greece. Actually, scratch that: NASCAR is not treated as something grand and noble, which makes it all the worse. To populist conservatives, the simple fact that Bush country embraces the sport makes its aesthetic quality quite beside the point. This is the sport of people, we are told ad nauseam by folks like Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, who “work hard, go to church, and play by the rules.” They are the ones who watch the WWF — a “sport” even apes laugh at — and who read the Left Behind series of books, which should probably be called Theology for Dummies.

more

History According to Harry: Appeasement fails with warlocks too

Wall Street Journal JONATHAN V. LAST

Tonight, when “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” descends upon bookstores, millions of children will flutter in delight. But the sixth entry in the franchise may well please discerning adults, too.

The series began as a collection of detective stories cloaked in sorcery. The first introduced us to the young Mr. Potter, who was packed off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after being orphaned when the evil Lord Voldemort–a warlock who had started a great war–killed his parents. But the early Potter tales were essentially Hardy Boys stories–each book confronted Harry and his friends with a series of small puzzles, the solving of which led to the resolution of a big case.

In the fifth book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” something interesting happened. The author, J.K. Rowling, abandoned the mystery genre and gave her readers something more challenging: a historical allegory. Through sleight-of-hand, Ms. Rowling took a children’s book and transformed it into a parable about 1930s England. We’ve heard a lot recently about London and the Blitz. Ms. Rowling’s unfolding saga may illuminate that dark historical moment, not only the ordeals that led up to it but also–who knows?–the triumphs that followed.

The parallels between this volume and Britain’s prewar dithering are so great that the book is perhaps best read as a light companion to “Alone,” the second volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill.

What the Structure Says: Two Milwaukee churches’ contrasting ideas about architecture and the sacred

The Wall Street Journal has an article that touches on the function of architecture in creating churches (worship-spaces?) written by an architectural critic.

What makes a church sacred? Until the Reformation, the standard answer was its consecration as a house of God. Since Vatican II and the cultural ferment of the 1960s, Catholic and Protestant reformers alike have subscribed to the notion that churches are merely functional settings, whether for celebrating liturgical rites or hearing the Word.