My studio is a mess and unattended. Ideas have been stacking up, awaiting their turn. But just about every waking moment this semester has been tasked to a course I was given to teach. I love to simplify and to probe, and so Art History Survey II–which races through 7 centuries of art all around the globe was a treat and a culmination of years of thought. We’ve looked at the historical, scientific and philosophic precursors that have then shown up in the visual response through time. The big questions get asked again and again in all this work; we seem wired to ask and to seek, to keep on asking, to express and to provoke.
The text finishes near the present moment with this quote which I find telling. “Art in the new millennium seems to be heading in several directions simultaneously, constantly shifting and recalibrating new perspectives and concerns as part of an increasingly complicated global discourse.” You can see this in the visual results.
Stokstad and Cothren, Art History (Boston:Pearson, 2014) 1129.
But I go back to words that have moved me deeply, and set me again into wonder. In a letter to another artist, Vincent VanGogh said this in 1888:
“Christ alone–of all the philosophers, Magi, etc.—has affirmed as a principle certainty: eternal life, the infinity of time, the nothingness of death, the necessity and the raison d’être of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as a greater artist than all other artists, despising marble and clay as well as color, working in living flesh.”