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Mysticism and Contemporary Art

Presentation for REL450 Mysticism, East and West, Dr. Jeffrey Lidke, Berry College, Rome GA April 7, 2014

Barbara Hutsell

on 17 April 2014

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Transcript of Mysticism and Contemporary Art

Mysticism and Contemporary Art
The true artist
helps the world
by revealing
mystic truths?
Art in the Twentieth Century

The Hidden Meaning of Abstract Art

Communities of Interpretation:
Early Christian
Medieval Mysticism

Mystical Connections:
Artists working today
At the Second Council of Nicea in 787, the veneration of icons was affirmed although the worship of icons was expressly forbidden.
Early Christian Art
Art before the Twentieth Century
Twentieth Century Art
Artists working Today
And there you are suspended, motionless
Till you are drawn the impulse is not yours
A drop absorbed in the seas that have no shores
First lose yourself, then lose this loss and then
Withdraw from all that you have lost again.
Go peacefully, and stage by stage progress
Until you gain the realm of nothingness.

From The
Conference of the Birds

by Attar of Nishapur
Thirteenth century Sufi Mystic
Medieval mystics
Hildegard von Bingen
Jacob Boehme
Mechthild von Magdebourg
St. Theresa of Avila
Mark Rothko
Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

Thomas Merton (1915-1958)
Mystical Connections:
The image-affirming doctrine of the Second Council of Nicea concerns not only a point in the history of ideas nor even a decision of Christian dogma: it formulates above all an -- perhaps the only -- alternative to the contemporary disaster of the image. In the icon, the visible and the invisible embrace each other from a fire that no longer destroys but rather lights up the divine face for humanity.
Jean-Luc Marion,
The Crossing of the Visible
(p. 87)
Anselm Kiefer,
Everybody Stands Under His Own Dome of Heaven,
watercolor on paper, 42x56, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Questions for Discussion

1. ) In what sense could the practice of the artist be compared to the practice of a contemporary mystic?

2. Are we ignoring icons in our midst? Quote Jean-Luc Marion.

Is Bruce Nauman's question rhetorical? (Following the logic of Derrida's deconstruction of Nietsche's question in "Tout Autre est Tout Autre"
(p. 116, The Gift of Death)
where Derrida explains that the posing of a rhetorical question implies that the question may be more than rhetorical, what does it mean that we could even pose such a question, putting the terms "true artist" and "mystic truth" in the same sentence? )

Outline of the Presentation
Traditional art is intertwined with sacred ritual in:
A Buddhist mandala is regarded as a microcosm of the universe
Full transcript