Arts: The Art of Being Christian
I first learned about Christians in the Visual Arts in 1993. I tagged along with seven CIVA members to Florence, Italy, as a diarist observing these artists as they produced the Florence Portfolio, a series of two dozen large etchings on the biblical theme of sacrifice.fdfsdfs
Along the way I heard a lot about the difficulties Christian artists face pursuing their vocation in the contemporary cultural landscape. Bruce Herman from Gordon College, for in stance, had recently had work rejected by the curator of a major gallery in the Boston area. Formerly a big fan of Bruce's painting, this man now felt Bruce's imagery had be come too seriously, too unironically "religious." On the other end, painter Ed Knippers had a show removed from a Christian college gallery because the muscular, frontal nudity of his scriptural figures, including Christ, disturbed too many Christian viewers.
Though their talent was not in question, these artists often found themselves marginalized by both the secular art establishment and the Christian subculture, whose patronage and appreciation they might have hoped for. While the present cultural climate touts its openness to the pluralistic expression of "values," it has often dismissed art that emerges from the deep faith of Christian believers. On the other side, many Christian communities harbor a deep-seated suspicion of powerful visual art.
Wayne Forte, a California painter, whose work was then represented by influential galleries on the west and east coasts, was once asked how he managed to "make a living" from his art. His paintings were collected almost exclusively by wealthy, often Jewish patrons interested in their investment value but largely unresponsive to their subjects and meaning. Forte ...