Seems we have established the link between art and culture, and the fact that art should be art, without labels. Specifically, it has been argued that we should not attempt to produce “Christian” art for the sake of “Christian” art. I think that there is a bit of dishonesty in this argument.
If we are comparing today’s “Christian” labeled art with art from antiquity, and other eras of world history. We are, in fact, arguing that Art with a “Christian” label is inferior to its “secular” counterpart. Is this an honest critique? I believe it is.
Let’s define a term before we proceed. What art are we talking about here? Name one instance where art is art for its own sake. I dare say that once you get beyond kindergarten, or maybe later in life drawing, composing, or painting for one’s own self gratification, you find much “true” art. Throughout history art has always been a product of consumerism. “Artists” of the past were commissioned to do a work, and we now stand in awe of their accomplishments. Michelangelo’s David, the Sistine Chapel, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, all were commissioned art and artists. They produced “art” to fit the commission. Of course the prevailing worldview was Christian theism and the art reflected that worldview.
Fast-forward to the twenty-first century. The theistic worldview is on the decline and is now only one of many competing worldviews that the population at large can embrace. It follows that taste and consumption of art will align with the chosen worldview. It will follow then that a theistic, Christian worldview will produce “Christian” art. Just as Atheistic-nihilism produces a Maplethorpe and his art. The article, “What is Christian Art?”(see below) correctly points out, “Good art represents the artist. We don’t have to think consciously about what we’re producing to have our art represent our thought. An existentialist artist doesn’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to make existential art.’ It is in the air he breathes, so it naturally comes out.” Throughtout history we see art change to reflect the culture and age in which it was produced. Today’s art may or may not be on par with the past masters. Modern artists usually do not have patrons who commission them to produce artwork. Therfore they turn to marketing and mass production in order to produce a product called art. How else are they to pay the bills, put food on the table and make a life? It is not just “Christian” art these days, it is “African” art, “Gothic” art and a myrid of other niches that have been identified by Madison Avenue as target demographics. I believe that much of the argument I have seen here in our blog is more about economics than the nature of art, Christian or otherwise. Now as to the quality, or depth of the arts in “Christian” packaging… I do not have the credentials to judge. The dime store novel of yesterday is in some cases now looked on as high art. Is the non-Christian worldview art better than Christian worldview art? I think not… but we do have some dollar store Christian art out there as well.