Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Lipsey on art and the spiritual

Two more Lipsey quotes from An Art of Our Own : the Spiritual in Twentieth Century Art. I like the way he puts words together.

Art accepted a special mission in virtually every preindustrial culture: to depict the sacred. The sacred is the realm of the larger truths surrounding and conditioning our lives or dwelling within; it is the realm of the hidden, and therefore the revelation. (p.12)

Universal meaning finds its way into art with or without discursive intellectual effort, but it requires a certain receptivity from the artist who turns toward that level of meaning, that aspect of his or her inner life.(p.26)

I'm not sure I agree that there is "universal meaning" as such, I've absorbed too much postmodern thought for that. But if you replace it with something like "a sense of the sacred" I think it works.

Is the sacred necessarily universal? Eliade Mircea and Joseph Campbell would maybe say yes. Though the manifestations of the sacred would differ there would be universal patterns, and some of these patterns would show up in art. I don't know how much this applies to modern and contemporary art, even art about the sacred. We'll see what Lipsey has to say.

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