Picturing the Universal Christ
A common view of art is that art is primarily a recognizable image. But the Universal Christ is not a recognizable image—it does not “have” an image. Fortunately, art is much more than an image. It is a dynamic connection between form and content. The popular view is that art should require no effort to “get it.” Contemporary art, like the image above, especially eludes this kind of simple viewing.
Here are three points that can help unravel modern art such as Alex Grey’s Cosmic Christ adapted from art historian Daniel A. Siedell:
1. Modern art is more theologically realistic than traditional art. The awkward, clunky, and strange-looking works of the modern period operate as painted theologies that declare our terror, vulnerability, fragility, and disasters—not pictures of the glory to come and the beauty to which we aspire. They’re not always intended to inspire or elevate, but through their vulnerability, weakness, and fear, they give us glimpses or intuitions of God’s grace. But they require the viewer to first look beyond the obvious, and second, to be receptive to whatever that painting may make them think or feel.
2. Modern art Is about truth, not affirmation.Read More