Friday, May 18, 2007

Low-Brow Thoughts on High-Brow Art

"White Center" (pictured left), a painting by abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, recently sold for nearly $73 million.

Anyone out there care to explain what's so special about this?

I'm sure those into abstract art will be mortified to hear me say this, but doesn't it look like something you could put together in PhotoShop in about 5 minutes?

Update: Wow--I didn't realize this would spark so much discussion. Thanks to those of you who have weighed in.

A commenter linked to Makoto Fujimura's article, Abstraction and the Christian Faith, and I think it's worth reading. Here's an excerpt:

When I transferred my allegiance from Art to Christ in 1987, causing my Art to be art, a shift occurred in my vision. Whereas before, I had an intellectual doubt of seeing reality as is, let alone depicting it, now my new found faith gave me the foundation to see reality and trust it. Colors and forms I saw were indeed what others could see, and the objective world did connect to the subjective. . . I now had a new conviction, to know for certain that certainty existed, that the "substance of things hoped for" is not a shadow of existence, but THE greater reality, more real and weighty than our own. I saw trees, rivers and sky differently. This shift became my new theme, and my series of over a hundred paintings, called Twin Rivers of Tamagawa, explores this.

. . . As I live and breathe the culture of New York, as I am called to live to "seek the shalom and prosperity of the city," I must work incarnationally, and get my hands dirty. I want my hands and intuitions to seek the shalom of the splintered and degraded aesthetic language of the day, to play a role, hopefully, to redeem the language of art, so that we can all, Christians and non-Christians alike, use the language to communicate. We need to; the greatest celebration and cosmic wedding awaits us. And this reality will transcend our finite definition of abstraction--it will truly become the abstract noun definition of epitome. We need to be ready, and invite others to join us, to rejoice, dance, sing... and paint.