Art & Content: Secularism -vs- Faith-based Worldviews

As I look at the work of some of my fellow artist friends, as well as art in galleries, as much as I find a lot of it visually pleasing I also see the work lacks understandable content and purpose beyond aesthetically balanced intention. Over the past several years I have been on a research journey that has taken me to a very interesting place, a place I did not think it would take me, a place driven by both political and philosophical interests. I know these artists, most of them anyway, exhibiting in galleries would say that their work is intended to represent content. But the problem is not what is represented as much as what is being interpreted.

An artist might say a work represents something, but does it truly represent said content if it is not interpreted by others? The guise, people have to work for it, meaning the artist is doing their part in communicating by making something visual and it is the fault of viewers if they “don’t get it,” is a weak argument because it reveals that the maker of said artwork has not developed the concept far enough to be understood or interpreted. This to me is an immature stance for artists to take.

With that said making work that communicates the maker’s intent and content is a huge task, one that I personally have rarely achieved but it is this rarity that makes art, art. Art should be rare because it is carefully thought out, executed, and in the end achieves its intention of communicating and being interpreted by the masses. It is the possession of a message that, in part, differentiates art from aesthetically pleasing objects. While art contains aesthetics, aesthetics is not art. Both the modern and ¬†postmodern idea the message can be the materials is a shallow and empty philosophy, but one that definitely coincides with the secular ¬†philosophy. But if one is not a humanist, atheist, and/or follower of any worldview that doesn’t ascribe to God or Supreme Intelligence from which humanity derive our concepts of right-and-wrong, this person as an artist should not make work that does not communicate those values for in so doing one essentially is making work that is contrary to ones worldview.

The result of a secularist, socialist, communist worldview is what is seen in contemporary museums of art, characterized by empty spaces, common materials used in juvenile methods, and an absence of meaning and intention just to name a few. Pre-modernity though in the art world art was known as a place for one to learn of the events of the day, history, and even investigate the purpose of life, areas which science cannot honestly articulate.

Will the art world stay here? Possibly, if there is not a spiritual awakening in this country. I suspect though there will always be room for aesthetically pleasing objects in a consumerist culture. But what happens if consumerism dies or greatly lessens?

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