Beyond Cheerleading

From First Thoughts

I’ll admit I was perplexed at James Panero’s account of the Classical Realist painter Jacob Collins , back in September 2006. Do not renewal movements in art need as many friends as they can get? But Panero’s assessment is now much clearer to me, for with his new review (in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Those Whitewashed Walls

From Web Exclusives

Nicosia, Cyprus touts itself¯mournfully but with a dash of pride¯as the world’s “last divided capital.” The southern side, which is muscularly Orthodox when not pedantically secular, boasts dozens of lovingly tended churches and several active, impressive mosques. On a . . . . Continue Reading »

The State of Higher Desperation

From Web Exclusives

Is there no hope? The special education section in the May 2008 issue of the New Criterion gave a pretty clear answer. The articles, focusing mostly on the state of higher education, provided something of a (perhaps justified) manifesto for giving up. Sensing this, and having chosen higher education . . . . Continue Reading »

Crazy for God

From Web Exclusives

Someone must have arranged this. It’s as if Frank Schaeffer’s book Crazy for God was designed to come out in tandem with Jody Bottum’s essay “The Judgment of Memory” in the March issue of First Things . It’s as if Crazy for God was published merely to illustrate all the . . . . Continue Reading »

God in the Gallery

From Web Exclusives

Numerous illustrations—absorbing, beautiful ones—of both the Vulgate Bible and the Divine Comedy by the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí are now on view (and for sale) at Manhattan’s William Bennett Gallery . “The Spiritual Art of Salvador Dalí” runs through . . . . Continue Reading »

The Art of Transgression

From the December 2007 Print Edition

Contemporary art refuses any set form, content, or medium—but it does, nonetheless, insist on one sure commandment: Religion has to go. The Art Institute of Chicago’s James Elkins lays down this law in his book On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art. The art world, he says, “can . . . . Continue Reading »

Saving Veronica

From Web Exclusives

On a trip to Crete last March to research onetime Venetian colonies, our class of twelve wandered into an Orthodox church in Chania. It was one of the many Cretan “double-nave” churches that, select art historians would argue, originated in Crete’s Venetian period, when both . . . . Continue Reading »

Sex and Mysticism

From Web Exclusives

Advice given to tourists in Scotland is equally applicable to contemporary academia: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes." Accordingly, those frustrated by reductive accounts of medieval spirituality need not waste energy in protest; the only need wait a few minutes . . . . Continue Reading »

Art & Theology: A Shared Predicament

From Web Exclusives

Recently there was a conference here at Princeton entitled "Retracing the Expanded Field." The theme was a reconsideration of an influential 1979 essay "Sculpture in the Expanded Field" in October ( October being, in this case, an influential left-leaning journal, not a month). . . . . Continue Reading »