The church and the contemporary art world often find themselves in an uneasy relationship in which misunderstanding and mistrust abound.
On one hand, the leaders of local congregations, seminaries, and other Christian ministries often don't know what to make of works by contemporary artists. Not only are these artists mostly unknown to church leaders, they and their work often lead them to regard the world of contemporary art with indifference, frustration, or even disdain.
On the other hand, many artists lack any meaningful experience with the contemporary church and are mostly ignorant of its mission. Not infrequently, these artists regard religion as irrelevant to their work, are disinclined to trust the church and its leaders, and have experienced personal rejection from these communities.
In response to this situation, the 2015 biennial conference of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) facilitated a conversation between these two worlds. The present volume gathers together essays and reflections by artists, theologians, and church leaders as they sought to explore misperceptions, create a hospitable space to learn from each other, and imagine the possibility of a renewed and mutually fruitful relationship.
Contemporary Art and the Church seeks common ground for the common good of both the church and the contemporary art world.
About the Author
W. David O. Taylor (ThD, Duke Divinity School) is assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and director of Brehm Texas, Fuller's regional campus based in Houston. An ordained Anglican minister, he is the editor of For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts. Taylor previously served as a pastor at Hope Chapel in Austin, Texas, where he supervised an arts ministry and the adult education program in addition to serving on the preaching team.
Taylor Worley (PhD, The University of St Andrews) is associate professor of faith and culture as well as associate vice president for spiritual life and ministries at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. In both these roles, he focuses on enabling students to see how their gifts and passions can be leveraged for greater vocational impact in the kingdom of God. He is coeditor of Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture: Responses to the Work of David Brown.
Table of Contents
Introduction (W. David O. Taylor and Taylor Worley)
1 A Conversation Between Contemporary Art and the Church (Wayne Roosa)
2 Art and Christian Pilgrimage: A Response to Wayne Roosa (Linda Stratford)
3 On the Strange Place of Religious Writing in Contemporary Art (Jonathan A. Anderson)
4 Artists as Witnesses in the Church (Sandra Bowden & Marianne Lettieri)
5 Can Contemporary Art Be Devotional Art? (Ben Quash)
6 Graced Encounters: A Response to Ben Quash (Taylor Worley)
7 Something From Nothing: A Theology of Nothingness and Silence for Yves Klein's Le Vide (Christina L. Carnes Ananias)
8 (Con)Founded Theology: A Haptic Pneumatology for Contemporary Art (Chelle Stearns)
9 Contemporary Art and Corporate Worship: Imago Dei in the Twenty-First Century (Katie Kresser)
10 Which Art? What Worship? A Response to Katie Kresser (W. David O. Taylor)
11 Art, Place, and the Church: Thinking Theologically About Contemporary Art in the Worship Space (Jennifer Allen Craft)
12 Finding Its Place: How Karl Barth's Ecclesiology Can Help the Church Embrace Contemporary Art (David W. McNutt)
13 The Origins and Mission of CIVA: A Symposium (Sandra Bowden, Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker, Theodore Prescott, and Calvin Seerveld, moderated by Nicholas Wolterstorff)
14 Contemporary Artists in the Public Square: A Symposium (David Hooker, Joyce Lee, Steve Prince, and Mandy Cano Villalobos, moderated by Kevin Hamilton)
15 Helping your Neighbor See Surprises: Advice to Recent Graduates (Calvin Seerveld)
16 Saving the World (Cameron J. Anderson)
List of Contributors
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Contemporary Art and the Church is the third book in the Studies in Theology and the Arts series. It is a compilation of essays, most of which were presented at a Christians in the Visual Art Conference. The contributors of this book examine a variety of questions in relation to the role of contemporary art in the church. Not only is the nature of contemporary art probed (what exactly is included when referring to "contemporary art"), but also how it should be used in the church and how artists who are committed Christians ought to engage with contemporary art. While I found each essay to be of interest for different reasons, for me, as an amateur artist who is primarily interested in the ways in which art can communicate ideas that speak to both heart and mind at once, I think the chapters that most interested me were "Can Contemporary Art be Devotional Art?" by Ben Quash, "Something from Nothing: A Theology of Nothingness and Silence for Yves Klein's Le Vide" by Christina L. Carnes Ananias, and "Art, Place, and the Church: Thinking Theologically About Contemporary Art in the Worship Space" by Jennifer Allen Craft. I would not necessarily recommend this book for everyone, due to the academic tone and highly theoretical nature of some of the chapters (I especially have in mind the first part of the book which is more concerned with the nature of and how art and faith can be in dialogue), but if you have a good understanding of theology and enjoy the ability of art to cultivate an experience of beauty and a sense of God, then I highly recommend it.