In the most liberal sense of the word, religion helps people find meaning for their existence, gives them a reason to have hope in desolate situations and provides them with a worldview by which this oftentimes-chaotic society may make sense.
Art, in its most generous view, attempts to preserve life as it is and seeks to reach for something higher. It strives to replicate the beauty – and pain – life offers and acts as a very tangible way in which to preserve culture.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the two have intersected more often than not throughout history.
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, for instance, is considered by many to be the archetype for the interplay between these two powerful forces in society. His intricate, 16th-century painting depicts God’s creation of Adam and Eve, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament prophets and nine other stories from the book of Genesis. For Michelangelo and most of the world’s other great artists, religion and art was undeniably linked.
But does the same hold true for the art world today? Can art still be combined with faith (however that may be defined) and be considered good art?
This week, the Mustang Daily arts section will consider these questions by taking an in-depth look at what role religion plays in art today. Tuesday’s paper will feature a guide to five religious-themed movies. We’ll feature local artists who incorporate Catholic symbolism in their work on Wednesday. Thursday’s paper will explore religion’s role in pop music, focusing on The Thermals’ music. And we’ll round out the week Friday with a profile on the International Arts Movement (IAM), a New York City-based arts organization that fosters religious dialogue.
-Janelle Eastridge, arts editor