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God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art

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Is contemporary art a friend or foe of Christianity? Art historian, critic, and curator Daniel Siedell, addresses this question and presents a framework for interpreting art from a Christian worldview in God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art. As such, it is an excellent companion to Francis Schaeffer's classic Art and the Bible. Divided into three parts--"T Is contemporary art a friend or foe of Christianity? Art historian, critic, and curator Daniel Siedell, addresses this question and presents a framework for interpreting art from a Christian worldview in God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art. As such, it is an excellent companion to Francis Schaeffer's classic Art and the Bible. Divided into three parts--"Theology," "History," and "Practice"--God in the Gallery demonstrates that art is in conversation with and not opposed to the Christian faith. In addition, this book is beautifully enhanced with images from such artists as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Enrique MartInez Celaya, and others. Readers of this book will include professors, students, artists, and anyone interested in Christianity and culture.


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Is contemporary art a friend or foe of Christianity? Art historian, critic, and curator Daniel Siedell, addresses this question and presents a framework for interpreting art from a Christian worldview in God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art. As such, it is an excellent companion to Francis Schaeffer's classic Art and the Bible. Divided into three parts--"T Is contemporary art a friend or foe of Christianity? Art historian, critic, and curator Daniel Siedell, addresses this question and presents a framework for interpreting art from a Christian worldview in God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art. As such, it is an excellent companion to Francis Schaeffer's classic Art and the Bible. Divided into three parts--"Theology," "History," and "Practice"--God in the Gallery demonstrates that art is in conversation with and not opposed to the Christian faith. In addition, this book is beautifully enhanced with images from such artists as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Enrique MartInez Celaya, and others. Readers of this book will include professors, students, artists, and anyone interested in Christianity and culture.

30 review for God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Being neither Protestant nor suspicious of contemporary art, this wasn't as interesting as it might otherwise have been. It did have a few decent bits, though. Being neither Protestant nor suspicious of contemporary art, this wasn't as interesting as it might otherwise have been. It did have a few decent bits, though.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Great book -- must read for Christians who are interested in contemporary art and feel a bit perplexed...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    God in the Gallery is exactly what the subtitle claims, ‘a Christian embrace of modern art’. Daniel A. Siedell embraces the contemporary art world, and will bring the willing reader along with him. I am a layperson when it comes to contemporary art. I have no training or degrees, but I love to engage with modern art and artists. I am a big fan of abstract expressionism, I love the aesthetic sensibilities of the Futurists, and pop art, With Warhol in the lead, is a fascinating and fun world. But m God in the Gallery is exactly what the subtitle claims, ‘a Christian embrace of modern art’. Daniel A. Siedell embraces the contemporary art world, and will bring the willing reader along with him. I am a layperson when it comes to contemporary art. I have no training or degrees, but I love to engage with modern art and artists. I am a big fan of abstract expressionism, I love the aesthetic sensibilities of the Futurists, and pop art, With Warhol in the lead, is a fascinating and fun world. But my true art love is the paintings of Mark Rothko. I love Rothko’s work. His later paintings speak to me deep down, down to my bones. To me, they are unbridled, raw emotion and experience. Reading Siedell’s book helped put that love, and my whole understanding of contemporary art, into a Christological context. Siedell places Rothko’s work, and much of contemporary art, in context as modern day icons. Icons to be experienced and to commune with, icons that show us light, the real Light. As Siedell puts it, “as Christians we can name this ‘real light’ even if, tragically, neither Rothko nor his paintings could.” Siedell goes into his thinking on the subject in depth, casting a Christian view of contemporary art in terms of the “economy of the icon”. He is upfront about how foreign this concept is to American Protestants, including me, and spends a worthwhile amount of time in the first chapters outlining how the icon was universal in the early church and affirmed universally up through the Second Council of Nicea. Using the icon as the intersection of physical and spiritual realities, Siedell invites the reader to view modern art as transcendent iconography. Read more on my blog...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Being a reader of Schaeffer and Rookmaaker in years past, my artistic interpretation of modern art was definitely shaped by their perspectives. My ongoing faith journey having touched on broader fields of Chrisitanity and utter belief of Christ being "all in all," I found his framework for interpreting modern art from this Christian worldview very intriguing. As the back cover states, "He contends that art is not antithetical or hostile to Christianity but is in resonant dialogue with it." I wil Being a reader of Schaeffer and Rookmaaker in years past, my artistic interpretation of modern art was definitely shaped by their perspectives. My ongoing faith journey having touched on broader fields of Chrisitanity and utter belief of Christ being "all in all," I found his framework for interpreting modern art from this Christian worldview very intriguing. As the back cover states, "He contends that art is not antithetical or hostile to Christianity but is in resonant dialogue with it." I will not pretend to agree or perhaps even understand every point made (it was a pretty "intellectual" read), but know that I will be thinking and acting upon this newly opened window for a long time. I appreciated the depth of perspective the author had in both matters of faith and art. He seems to be ushering in a new point of discussion which I believe is sorely needed in order for true progress among Christians in the arts to be gained. The fact that he proceeds with a more Eastern slant should not detract from but rather add to our better understanding of faith and art through the historic Church.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott Cox

    This is a challenging work to both read as well as to review. As someone who is both a Christian and who appreciates modern art (yes, even abstract art), I was looking forward to Siedell’s challenge. An albeit simplistic outline of this work can be summarized as follows: 1. Definition and meaning of modern art (blend of Dickie’s “institutional theory” and Crowther’s “ecology theory” of art). 2. Christian apologetic of modern art (Acts 17:22,23). 3. Examples and analysis of modern artists (highlight This is a challenging work to both read as well as to review. As someone who is both a Christian and who appreciates modern art (yes, even abstract art), I was looking forward to Siedell’s challenge. An albeit simplistic outline of this work can be summarized as follows: 1. Definition and meaning of modern art (blend of Dickie’s “institutional theory” and Crowther’s “ecology theory” of art). 2. Christian apologetic of modern art (Acts 17:22,23). 3. Examples and analysis of modern artists (highlighting Enrique Martínez Celaya). 4. Role of art criticism (Clement Greenburg v. Harold Rosenberg). 5. Advantage of Nicene (Orthodox) Christian art/worldview versus Reformed Christian art/worldview (Rookmaaker, Schaeffer). First, Siedell argues for a definition of art that transcends mere institutional museum labels (Dickie). Rather a complete definition must also include the process of making and experiencing art (Crowther). This process has the potential to transform both the artist as well as the viewer. Second, the author argues that Paul’s response to the idols seen on Athen’s Mars Hill in Acts chapter 17 provides a framework for how Christians are to respond and understand modern works of art, specifically, that “they are indeed poignant alters to the unknown god in aesthetic form” (p.34). Third, Siedell uses the art of Enrique Martínez Celaya as a “lens” by which to evaluate the relationship between art and (generic) faith. Siedell then focuses this lens on a number of modern artists using a framework of “objects, practices, and environment.” Fourth, Siedell explores the relationship between modern art and art criticism, specifically addressing the tension between critics Clement Greenberg (simplistic style with analysis of specific artists and art) and Harold Rosenberg (grandiose, existential style of a genre). Not surprisingly, the emergence of American art criticism coincided with the advent of the first uniquely American style of art: Abstract Expressionism. Fifth, the author directly confronts Western and Reformed Christian theories of art with his personal adherence to the Nicene-Orthodox faith with an emphasis on iconography and theosis, “a theology that sees the Christian life as one of increased participation in the divine nature” (1 Peter 2:4; p.141). Most of my negative critique arises from these sections wherein the author laments the separation of art from Christian worship. Indeed, the Golden Age of Art arose during the post-reformation era when art was freed from the confines of the cathedral. It was this separation that not only allowed art to flourish, but also to once again create and display “poignant alters . . . in aesthetic form.” Overall, this was an informative if not difficult book to digest. I recommend it to anyone interested in modern art, art theory, and their relationship to the historic Christian faith.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    I'm not that interested in Radical Orthodoxy, the Emergent Church, or other similar theological/liturgical movements, so to a certain extent some of the author's specifically Christian comments were not that interesting to me. However, the first two chapters, as well as the chapter on Art Criticism, may be the clearest discussion I have ever read on what is Modern and Contemporary Art and why it is what it is, and I would highly recommend those chapters to anyone, Christian or not, who was frust I'm not that interested in Radical Orthodoxy, the Emergent Church, or other similar theological/liturgical movements, so to a certain extent some of the author's specifically Christian comments were not that interesting to me. However, the first two chapters, as well as the chapter on Art Criticism, may be the clearest discussion I have ever read on what is Modern and Contemporary Art and why it is what it is, and I would highly recommend those chapters to anyone, Christian or not, who was frustrated by the language used in other academic introductions to the topic (for example, the prose in one of the broad introductions recommended by Siedell, _Art Since 1900_, is execrable, and the authors should be ashamed of themselves for fostering the worst stereotypes of Academic writing in general and Art History in particular.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Johnson

    Very thankful for this book. I started reading this at a point where I was beginning to develop several questions about what I believed, and how these beliefs were limiting or silencing how I made art. This is a great book to sit with if you wonder how the freedom of art should/can interact with the making or viewing of art.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

  9. 5 out of 5

    Matt Walker

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alissa Wilkinson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Madi Vander Ark

  13. 4 out of 5

    Edith

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Brooks

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin Elder

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kaley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Graham Martin veale

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marilee Turscak

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jess Onesto

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rev. Haberer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matt Maldre

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Kelly

  29. 5 out of 5

    James Allman jr.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary Julia

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