>Fujimura on Art

>I’ve been thinking a lot about Christianity and the arts, which has gotten me thinking about Christian artists and my former Latin tutor, John Barach, directed me to the blog of Makoto Fujimura, WORLD magazine’s “Daniel of the Year” in 2005.

Fujimura is not only a world-class studio artist; he’s a thoughtful and articulate writer. Reading his blog entries on art was an exquisite experience. He writes:

We are created to be creative: and we have stewardship responsibilities that come with that gift. The more we find fittingness in the God given responsibility, the more freedom we will find in our expression.

A recent viewing of the Fra Angelica (1395-1455) exhibit at the Met led him to ask what he calls the “five hundred year question”: “What ideas, what art, what vision affects humanity for over five hundred years?” This, he elucidates, is “the opposite of the Warholian ‘15 seconds of fame.’”

“Contemporary art does not encourage such thoughts,” he writes. Noting a couple of exceptions, he adds, “contemporary artists want to compress time, rather than stretch time. We are immersed in a visual culture that squeezes life into 15 second commercials with instant gains.”

Fujimura muses that if Fra Angelica were born today he would have a difficult time finding anyone to teach him his craft because the “church would not be the first place a creative genius would look” for training in art. “That statement alone reveals how much Christians have abdicated our responsibility to steward culture.”

There is much more to thoughtfully savor, particularly his questions:

Would we see another Renaissance in the days to come? Would we have another chance to steward our culture, without losing our identity and faith in the process?

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