Praying at the Museum of Modern Art
A King's College art historian reflects on belief that all things are made in and through Christ.
Christians can recognize even the most seemingly profane of contemporary art as a kind of prayer, a venture on the possibility that someone, and Someone, will visit, observe, and respond with grace. But to hear this prayer, Christians need to recognize their own vulnerability and fragility rather than expecting art to affirm our piety and power.
Even Paul seemed to have taken time to visit the artistic works of Athens, observing there a monument dedicated to an unknown god. Far from denigrating the Greeks for their blindness, he commended them for their search, offering to name the God they sought. The landscape of modern and contemporary art is littered with altars to unknown gods. These paintings, sculptures, and installations create an opportunity for Christians to creatively and lovingly name the one in whom all things are made—for “he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27).
When asked about the meaning of Gober’s work, the artist Charles Ray said, “It asks me to be near. To come closer and look longer or to come back tomorrow and look again. The work whispers, ‘Be with me.’ ”
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