Artists Behaving Strangely

Why do so many artists behave so strangely? If their odd-looking work isn’t enough to make us scratch our heads, their weird behavior confirms our suspicions that they are charlatans, getting away with artistic murder in a laissez-faire and degenerate art world in which personality and image are more important than the quality of their [Read More...]

Holy Nomad and the “Quest” Approach to Christian Faith

This post is my contribution to Patheos’ book club on Matt Litton’s Holy Nomad: The Rugged Road to Joy.  I suppose this book falls in same genre as The Ragamuffin Gospel (Brennan Manning) and The Sacred Romance (Brent Curtis and John Elderidge)–sort of a combination of memoir, inspirational writing, and biblical/theological reflection. As an academic, I’ve grown used to reading lengthy tomes, [Read More...]

Who Are You?

Every painting is a self-portrait. Although he may nowhere be seen on the canvas, the artist is everywhere present. Yet it is a self that escapes the artist’s control, transcending (and sometimes even undermining) the artist’s intentions. However, in a self-portrait the artist makes himself present to you and to me, controlling how he is [Read More...]

Politics and the Narcissist Impulse: Just Make Me a Hero, Please

Election season is winding down. We will all breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over (or half of us will) The political machine seems driven around something quite basic to humanity: narcissism. In political discourse we hear a lot about the “common good,” and the “state of the country.” But whether the topic is [Read More...]

The Evangelical Hamster Ball

We evangelicals who care about the arts tend to operate in a hamster ball. Protected by our Christian worldview and our theologies of art and culture which fuel our work, we scurry about the artistic and cultural landscape able to apply our worldview and theology to everything we see. The fact that we see it [Read More...]

Let’s Explore Modern Art

  I know modern art can be strange and difficult. So, let’s spend a week this summer exploring it. I will be leading a week-long class on modern and contemporary art with the Glen Workshop, sponsored by IMAGE Journal. The workshop takes place June 10-17 at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. In addition [Read More...]

“You’d be Really Pretty if You were White”: Jesus and Race in America

Editor Note: Today’s Guest Post is by Doneila McIntosh. Doneila is completing her M.Div. at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN and is a wife and mother of two boys.  A few nights ago, as my family was sitting down for dinner, my three year old Levi asked, “Mommy is Levi white?” As I hesitated [Read More...]

Beyond the Image

  In addition to my weekly blog posts here at Cultivare, I am also contributing as a guest over at “Good Letters: Words Made Flesh,” a blog of IMAGE: A Journal of Art and Faith and hosted over at Patheos. You can read my second post,“Beyond the Image,” which explores what a painting is and is not. [Read more...]

My Kid Can Do That

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937, Reina Sofia, Madrid “My kid can do that” is a common accusation leveled against modern artists whose paintings look nothing like the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, or a Thomas Kinkade print. As a museum curator I heard this numerous times. Modern art frustrates our presumptions of what art should [Read More...]

Us and Them

I was invited to give a chapel talk at Biola University in La Mirada, California in the spring of 2011. I spoke about how the book of Jonah is a story about us and them, revealing that the grace that God shows to the unrighteous infuriates those of us who think we are righteous. Unfortunately, [Read More...]