Addenda

15 Aug

Art and the Loss of Transcendence

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 08/15/04

In "Julian Schnabel Paints a Portrait of God" artist and critic Suzi Gablik looks at how artists have struggled with living in modern and postmodern societies in which there is no public vocabulary for the sacred.

"In refusing to acknowledge the reality of any experience that is not scientifically provable, the scientific world view has condemned much that is vital to culture and creative growth. To see things in this alienating way may be the particular compulsion of the modern Western mentality, but it does not necessarily reflect the way things really are. Although we may value technological power more than sacred wisdom, scientific rationalism has so far failed to prove itself as a successful integrating mythology for industrial society; it offers no inner archetypal mediators of divine power, no cosmic connectedness, no sense of belonging to a larger pattern. Science, in the twentieth century, has had little to say about spiritual values, nor, it would seem, has art."

So wrote artist and critic Suzi Gablik in a 1984 article called "Julian Schnabel Paints a Portrait of God." In the essay, Gablik (author of Has Modernism Failed? and Conversations before the End of Time: Dialogues on Art, Life and Spiritual Renewal) looks at how modern and postmodern artists have struggled with living in modern and postmodern societies in which there is no public vocabulary for the sacred.