IN PRISM'S BOOK BAG: Two new books on art and faith

 A BROKEN BEAUTY, edited by Theodore L. Prescott (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2005)

After decades of neglect by the artistic and critical community, beauty has recently reemerged as a hot topic. The nature of beauty remains as rich and problematic as ever: We long for completeness, health, and perfection, yet more often than not we encounter fragmentation, weakness, and at best a tragicomic dignity.

A BROKEN BEAUTY examines recent ideas about beauty and the human image in light of the Western Classical and Christian traditions of the human figure. The book's five essays trace the historical fusion of Classical and Christian ideas about beauty, as well as their rejection by much modern art, provocatively suggesting that the difficulties encountered by the beautiful in modernity may be related to a loss of faith.

This powerful volume culminates in a look at 15 postmodern North American artists whose haunting pieces unite brokenness and beauty in a way that is uncommon within contemporary art. These artists, like the book's essayists, find significance in beauty that is cultivated amidst the perennial human struggle for goodness, meaning, and dignity.

A BROKEN BEAUTY is lavishly illustrated throughout with full-color reproductions of the art under discussion.

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FAITH AND VISION: TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF CHRISTIANS IN THE VISUAL ARTS, edited by Cameron Anderson and Sandra Bowden (Square Halo Books, 2005)

Founded in 1979, Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA – http://www.civa.org) was born as a response to the absence of a tangible Christian community within the contemporary American art world. As it matured, CIVA grew to become a place of aesthetic stimulation and spiritual encouragement both to its members and to the several thousand artists and institutions in its formal network. FAITH AND VISION is the record of a generation or two of Christians who heeded the call to make art and, in doing so, accepted its manifold challenges, tensions, and affirmations. The hope of the many contributors to this book is that it will serve as a signpost of encouragement to a rising cohort of artists who follow. Between its covers, this book features more than 200 images that showcase the work of CIVA's most accomplished artists and highlight the quality and breadth of its many traveling exhibitions, conferences, directories, and publications.

 

 

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