Friday, March 18, 2011
The Art of Friendship
The good folks over at Comment magazine (chiefly Alissa and Dan) have kindly posted an essay of mine. Titled "The Art of Friendship" it explores a few ideas about friendship with artists in mind, especially as it relates to the condition of art-making and relationship-building in the contemporary art world, both high and popular. I've included a couple of paragraphs below. The rest you can find here, at a fine magazine that publishes regularly stimulating essays.
A few quick notes.
My Lenten practices are going well. Every once and a while I get a bad itch to check Facebook. Then I remember that self-denial actually means something in the Christian faith and that I'll be the better for it if I deny my temptations. Wednesday night, though, I craved a mean piece of dark chocolate. I settled for a bowl of apple sauce instead. Grumble, grumble.
Tonight I speak to a group of IVCF grad students at University of North Carolina (and possibly Duke too). I'll be talking about horror films and the way they open up opportunities to explore the way in which art mediates three common human fears: the fear of the dark, the fear of the future and the fear of the unknown. I watched Gojira and The Host this week to freshen up my monster movie senses. It should be fun and I'm looking forward to meeting fellow graduate students. Oh, hey. How about them Longhorns and Blue Devils? I don't feel as confident about UT anymore, but at least I've got Duke's Kyrie Irving returning to the mix. I love March Madness.
I just found out that Jennifer Lawrence has been tabbed to play the role of Katniss Everdeen in the film version of the very popular trilogy The Hunger Games. Garry Ross will direct. I hope Lawrence can pull it off. She seems a little old and, well, big to play Suzanne Collins' female protagonist, but let's hope she learns how to pull a mean bow and arrow and to give the people of the Capitol of Panem something to be sorry about.
Wondering how an artist, specifically a songwriter, would respond to the natural disaster of an earthquake? Wonder no more. See here for a nice bit on Charles Wesley and his two earthquake-related hymns.
Lastly, about the ministers to artists retreat. I'm going to post part II (from part I) on Sunday. In the meanwhile, three things. One, you can register here. Two, you can find info about the retreat here and here.
And three, would you do me a kind favor and send along info of this retreat to anybody and everybody you know who might be, even remotely, interested? You know people I don't and I'd love to invite the rest of the tribe to join us at the bottom of the most gorgeous canyon in the middle of nowhere Texas.
I leave you then with an excerpt from the essay and a photograph that says it all.
Excerpt from "The Art of Friendship":
The World of Donquixotry
I have just gotten off the phone with an artist. I can't think of a better incitement for this essay than the anecdote that he relayed. He returned yesterday from a gathering with other artists in the Northwest and he described the atmosphere that marked their gathering as the plaintive bleating of lonely, wounded sheep.
I confess to being baffled by the strange obsession with loneliness that marks much of the art world. On the one hand, artists are known for perpetuating a kind of cult of loneliness, while on the other they rue the lonely life that many of them, due to the confused circumstances of art in modern society, find themselves forced to live—even in their own homes, even in New York City.