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Does Narrow Artistic Taste Predict Dogmatic Attitudes?
 
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I had the chance to go through the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC last week. Staggering, beautiful places.

As I moved back and forth through the artistic epochs on display there, a correlation between artistic and cultural trends occurred to me. That is, the degree to which the artistic range within a community allows us to predict its dogmatic orientation.

For a good part of the last couple of centuries, the artistic community has been disposing of categories. What is art? for example. Questions like this used to have clear answers. Then the answers became less clear. Now for the most seriously artistic among us, they near impossible to answer. At the MOMA I saw wonderful Impressionist paintings a short distance from piles of ostensible garbage. I say "ostensible" because once one apprehends the nature of the philosophical point being made by the creators of the garbage and the context within which they were communicating, their creation acquires unexpected meaning, often related to its lack of meaning. I have no problem with the inclusion of this kind of human artefact in a great museum.

While artists were deconstructing their community standards, other kinds of categories were being questioned in the broader society. What does it mean to have different skin color? Different sexual orientation? To have a child out of wedlock? To be a citizen? Why do white males always have to be in charge?

Artists were ahead of, if not leading, a lot of this. The Dada movement and various streams of modern and postmodern art questioned basic values. Only a small percentage of society was aware of this, let alone understood it. However, that was an influential small percentage. And, it may be that they simply felt something in the air and reacted to it, while that something would have eventually led to the Civil Rights and other similar movements whether they were involved or not.

These movements followed broad evolutionary patterns and processes. For example, they follow the principle of creative destruction - that in most of the complex systems that are important to our lives (like the biosphere), there must be regular destruction to make room for new growth.

Social organisms are as varied as animals. Some are slow and cumbersome; others more nimble; some dull; others flamboyant. All are reflections of the social niches that produced them. But there are some consistencies. For example, the flamboyant tend to be nimble. Slow creatures that attract a lot of attention tend to get eaten and fail to reproduce.

Similar consistencies can be found within the range of social organisms. For example, as I look around me at the various social organisms with which I am familiar I notice a correlation between the range of artistic expression that is embraced within the group and how dogma or rule bound they are. For example, the narrower the range of art that is popular within the group, the more likely it is that a relatively narrow range of acceptable behaviours will exist for each category of person within the group.

Behaviour is circumscribed by dogma. All young adult males must go on Missions because it is God’s will. Most of your time on Sunday and otherwise free time during the week must be dedicated to activities determined by religious leaders. Sex outside of marriage is prohibited. A woman’s highest calling is to have babies and then stay a home and raise them. Etc.

Artistic taste is the subject to dogma as well. Strict sexual mores, for example, make it hard for many Mormons to appreciate Greek sculpture and Renaissance church art, let alone modern cinema. However, I think there is more at work here.

Dogmatic religions tend to be conservative. That is, they resist most change. Mormonism exemplifies this. Each major change must be approved by 15 ancient, white males. This guarantees that evolution will proceed at glacial pace. Young people are only encouraged to innovate within the playing field established by institutional authority. This produces artistic prodigies like The Osmonds, and the occasional finalist on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

A study conducted at Ricks College (as it then was) noted the absence of Mormon Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, and wondered why Brigham Young’s prophesy that Mormons would dominate the arts and sciences was not yet being fulfilled.

The answer is clear. To encourage the creative act is to encourage chaos and undermine authority. By emphasizing order, Mormonism and other similar groups stifle creativity. And this is reflected in a relatively narrow range of group artistic taste.

Order and chaos are at opposite ends of the same spectrum. Creativity occurs as we move away from order and toward chaos. This loosens up the system, and allows new forms to emerge. It releases a lot of new creative energy. And this is hard to control.

So, highly obedient groups of people tend not to be creative. And if you are not creative, your range of interests and behaviours tends to be narrow.

best,
bob

 

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When I was TBM, this was one of the most frustrating things to me about Mormonism - the squelching of any true creativity.
 
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bob mcq:

The answer is simple and clear.  To encourage the creative act is to encourage chaos and undermine authority.  By emphasizing order, Mormonism and other similar groups stifle creativity.  And this is reflected in the range of group artistic taste. 

 

Order and chaos are at opposite ends of the same spectrum.  Creativity occurs as we move away from order and toward chaos.  This loosens up the system, and allows new forms to grow.  It releases a lot of new creative energy.  And this is hard to control.   

 

best,

bob

 

Excellent observations, Bob...I whole-heartedly agree!

 

Greg Olson seems to agree, too...

 

Creativity--real creativity--really must exist unfettered if it is to produce new and interesting art forms.  Granted, a lot of what is "discovered" in that journey doesn't always apeal to us (here, I cannot help but think of rap music...), but it's the exploration that matters.

 

A rigid, dogmatic set of standards by which all "good things" are measured ensures that art is NOT free to explore the nether reaches as chaos would otherwise dictate.  "God would not approve of that" is a harsh criticism that no faithful artist wants to hear--it's hard on sales, and you don't get into the galleries you want to be shown in.  On the other hand, if you adhere to the rigid standards, you are guaranteed a niche market for your work...so it's unfortunately rather self-reinforcing.  (What good Mormon home doesn't have at least one Greg Olson print proudly displayed?)

 

I don't always care for the art (that is often ostensibly a pile of garbage) that chaos and creativity produce, but I value GREATLY the freedom for artists to explore.

 

As always, I very much enjoyed those thoughts, Bob.

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I'd like to give this topic further thought, but my immediate reaction as it pertains to Mormonism is that it might be more of a freedom of expression issue rather than intrinsic artistic taste of the individual Mormon.  In other words, no matter how broad the artistic taste of the individual may be, if expression of those views is incompatible with the church, the artistic expression is stifled.

 

Take Chad Hardy as a case in point.  I think his calendar was clearly an attempt at artistic expression that was much broader than his dogmatic church would allow.  Chad's artistic taste in this case was fairly broad, but his ability to express it was very narrow.  

 

We see the same within Communist Countries and other highly controlled groups where free speech is restricted.  Take the individual out of these highly dogmatic and controlling environments and the breadth of artistic expression seems to expand exponentially.  Think of all the talent, art, wisdom, scientific achievement that was lost during the Holocaust.  Think of the subsequent achievements in those areas by some of the survivors.

 

I have no doubt that even hardcore, long-time, fully-indoctrinated TBMs would explode with a fantastic array of artistic expression if only allowed the complete unfettered freedom to do so.

 

Maybe this is a chicken/egg question.  

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Being an artist myself, I've always been on the liberal side of things.  I loved my high school Art History class (getting my highest AP score of a 4).  I had no problems with the nudes or anything else.  Later in my time in college, I took life drawing classes and drew from live nude models. 

 

Both of these experiences have led me to see how beautiful the human body is.  It is not inherently a sexual thing.  Our own biases color how we see things.  If you see the barest bit of exposed skin as sinful, you'll think a whole nude is the worst thing in the world.  (See BYU and their censoring of Rodin's The Kiss)

 

I had a conversation with my former TBM girlfriend in which we discussed this topic.  Her response was that the human body was something sacred and special and should only be shared with your mate.  All the other times, it should modestly covered.  (So, obviously a nudist colony was out of the question.)  This also meant that any kind of nude artwork was sinful and would lead to immoral thoughts.

 

Mormon art is like Mormon music, you know what you're always going to get: artwork that follows the same mold, conservative in design, shows the church in a good light and is 'uplifting'. 

 

Also notice that some of the artwork the Church uses (such as some of the covers for the Ensign) are not done by contemporary Mormon artists, but from other sources throughout art history.

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Very interesting post. Thanks, Bob.

 

"Searching" seems to be a method of executing and fulfilling personal creativity through the arts. Dogmatic religions which presume to know all the answers stifle and diminish the yearning to search.

 

 

::hypatia hangs her head low and scuffs her shoes around a bit::

Yes. I have both, a Greg Olsen and a James Christensen signed print hanging upon my hallowed walls.

 

 

 

 

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Andy:

... my immediate reaction as it pertains to Mormonism is that it might be more of a freedom of expression issue rather than intrinsic artistic taste of the individual Mormon.  In other words, no matter how broad the artistic taste of the individual may be, if expression of those views is incompatible with the church, the artistic expression is stifled.

 

 I agree.  And that is the point.  A person who in a different social situation might be a wonderful artist can't find her legs within the Mormon environment.

 

 

Andy:

Maybe this is a chicken/egg question.  

 

I don't think so.  It is rather a question of how different kinds of social structure affect individual development. 

 

In some cases, more order and less creativity is a great thing.  Art and other forms of creativity are luxury goods.  Where your group is dealing with survival issues, you can't afford chaos.  The most coordinated social behavior possible is required to keep death outside the door.  This is one of the reasons for which leaders trying to consolidate power often talk up crisis, or even create it.  In times of crisis, strong leadership and coordinated action are more important than in times of peace and plenty.

 

best,

bob

 

 

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Exhibit A:

 

Mormon Architecture

 

 

 

...fer instance...

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peter_mary:

Creativity--real creativity--really must exist unfettered if it is to produce new and interesting art forms.  Granted, a lot of what is "discovered" in that journey doesn't always apeal to us (here, I cannot help but think of rap music...), but it's the exploration that matters.

 

Thanks PM.  We are on the same page.

 

Another point along these lines that I like - and I can't recall where I picked this up - is that an appreciation for irony is required to produce good art.  For example, evil and good are inextricably mixed in life, and the oddest combinations of these are moment to moment occurances in most of us.  It is hard for the seriously religious person to see infinite shades of grey in their clear cut world, and hence hard for them to create art that speaks deeply to the human condition.

 

The more dogmatic the religoius person, the more likely they are to be irony (and hence artistically) impaired.

 

best,

bob

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hypatia:

Very interesting post. Thanks, Bob.

 

"Searching" seems to be a method of executing and fulfilling personal creativity through the arts. Dogmatic religions which presume to know all the answers stifle and diminish the yearning to search.

 

 

 This is exactly along the lines of what I was thinking.

 I was going to say that to be in the 'zone' artistically requires a very brazen honesty with ones self imho. I think the subconcious of anyone following someone else's line of reasoning and faith, won't allow being in the 'zone.'

 
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bob mcq:
peter_mary:

Creativity--real creativity--really must exist unfettered if it is to produce new and interesting art forms.  Granted, a lot of what is "discovered" in that journey doesn't always appeal to us (here, I cannot help but think of rap music...), but it's the exploration that matters.

 

Thanks PM.  We are on the same page.

 

Another point along these lines that I like - and I can't recall where I picked this up - is that an appreciation for irony is required to produce good art.  For example, evil and good are inextricably mixed in life, and the oddest combinations of these are moment to moment occurances in most of us.  It is hard for the seriously religious person to see infinite shades of grey in their clear cut world, and hence hard for them to create art that speaks deeply to the human condition.

 

The more dogmatic the religoius person, the more likely they are to be irony (and hence artistically) impaired.

 

best,

bob

Which leads me to another thought--dogmatic world-views no doubt lead a person to idealize what life SHOULD be, and portray that in artwork.  If "evil" exists in the art, it is being summarily dispatched, rather than wrestled with.  So we see not only dreamy, idealized visions of life, but the people are beautiful, idealized people, also.

 

And oddly, no one actually relates to them...

 

 

Most of us who would otherwise turn to Jesus for succor are not happy, smiley, beautiful people...  (In part, because most human beings do meet meet the criteria for beauty that do Greg Olsen's models...)

 

Subsequently, while the artwork achieves acceptance, it is meaningless, because it doesn't speak to anyone at a visceral level.  In fact, one could argue it's not art at all--it's an illustration, suitable for underscoring a religious point, but not for making an artistic statement.

 

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Andy:

I'd like to give this topic further thought, but my immediate reaction as it pertains to Mormonism is that it might be more of a freedom of expression issue rather than intrinsic artistic taste of the individual Mormon.  In other words, no matter how broad the artistic taste of the individual may be, if expression of those views is incompatible with the church, the artistic expression is stifled.

 

Take Chad Hardy as a case in point.  I think his calendar was clearly an attempt at artistic expression that was much broader than his dogmatic church would allow.  Chad's artistic taste in this case was fairly broad, but his ability to express it was very narrow.  

 

We see the same within Communist Countries and other highly controlled groups where free speech is restricted.  Take the individual out of these highly dogmatic and controlling environments and the breadth of artistic expression seems to expand exponentially.  Think of all the talent, art, wisdom, scientific achievement that was lost during the Holocaust.  Think of the subsequent achievements in those areas by some of the survivors.

 

I have no doubt that even hardcore, long-time, fully-indoctrinated TBMs would explode with a fantastic array of artistic expression if only allowed the complete unfettered freedom to do so.

 

Maybe this is a chicken/egg question.  

 

 I think you are right about the orange.  I am not sure, however, that repression of "immodest" art is the only thing repressing Mormon art.

 

There is also the cultural drive to fit in as normal.  I assume there was an art department at BYU back in Picasso's day.  The standard works don't ban painting models with cube shaped heads or guitar players with blue skin.    It is safe to say that very few Mormons within the art department embraced anything like Picasso because at the time it was cutting edge stuff.  Of course they love Picasso now but his art isn't cutting edge now.

 

EDIT:  bunch of stuff cut.  shorter version

Mormons are taught to follow and sheep make boring art.

 

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Interesting thread. And what about music as well?

 

Is there a correlation between folks who like jazz, real complex jazz, and the ability to ponder a more complex world view?

 

Does range of musical palate fit into the category of this post as well?

 

 
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I'm reminded of a couple of Calvin Grondahl cartoons.  One is of a GA talking to an architect.  The GA tells him:  "We need something beautiful and inspiring, and yet reflects the taste of the American middle class."

 

The other one is of a GA with the Tabernacle organ in the background saying, "And another sign you might be on the road to apostacy is having the impression our Church art is tacky."

 

All you have to do is look at most LDS cinema, i.e., Church Ball, Pride & Prejudice in Utah, Singles Ward, Baptists at Our Barbecue, ad infinitum and you can easily see that depth of thought is neither encouraged nor welcomed.

 

And that syrupy-sweet Mormon pop music that gives you cavities.  (Pop songs about the Crucifixion--cannot get my head around that).

 

Greg Olson has already been mentioned, and I concur with P_M's assertion that these are illustrations, not art.

 

And those mannequins pretending to be sculpture that one finds in all the visitors' centers and on the temple grounds.

 

Don't even get me started on all the crappy Mormon fiction and poetry out there. 

 

Any group that squelches free thought is going to foster a very mediocre canon of artistic work.

 

Just MHO.

 

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hypatia:

Very interesting post. Thanks, Bob.

 

"Searching" seems to be a method of executing and fulfilling personal creativity through the arts. Dogmatic religions which presume to know all the answers stifle and diminish the yearning to search.

 

 

::hypatia hangs her head low and scuffs her shoes around a bit::

Yes. I have both, a Greg Olsen and a James Christensen signed print hanging upon my hallowed walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 I feel the same about Greg Olsen as I do about Thomas Kinkade.  He's found a niche that people like- it's unthreatening, it's warm and fuzzy.  It's happy-kittens and cotton-candy.  Nothing wrong with that, they make a lot more money selling their art than I do.  But it does not push any boundaries.

 

FWIW, I have always admired Christensen's work because it is so much more imaginitive.  

 

I'm trying to push my art to make it less dark.  For instance, here are a couple of pieces that are pretty typical of the kind of work I've been doing this past year.  I call this one, "The Bastard Monument: Security's Tabernacle, Liberty's Tomb"

 

 

And this one in a similar style is called simply, "Nexus"

 

 

 

 This is the sort of direction I'd like to head back to; this one is from about a year ago.  This one is called "Dream By  Day"

 

 

And, just to let you all know, putting my art on here is a frightening move for me, but this forum and my artwork are my two forms of self-therapy, and I just don't think I can keep the two separate any longer.  I know that putting my work on here makes it much more probable that someone I'd rather not will identify who I am.  Whatever; I need to move forward.

 

And I totally agree, that even the art we don't personally enjoy is valuable.  Art is like speech or music; it pushes the boundaries of what humanity is.  If we limit what is acceptable, we limit our potential.  Not everything we make will propel us forward.  But we must be free to explore unfettered or we will never go anywhere.

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Draconis:
hypatia:

Very interesting post. Thanks, Bob.

 

"Searching" seems to be a method of executing and fulfilling personal creativity through the arts. Dogmatic religions which presume to know all the answers stifle and diminish the yearning to search.

 

 

::hypatia hangs her head low and scuffs her shoes around a bit::

Yes. I have both, a Greg Olsen and a James Christensen signed print hanging upon my hallowed walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 I feel the same about Greg Olsen as I do about Thomas Kinkade.  He's found a niche that people like- it's unthreatening, it's warm and fuzzy.  It's happy-kittens and cotton-candy.  Nothing wrong with that, they make a lot more money selling their art than I do.  But it does not push any boundaries.

 

FWIW, I have always admired Christensen's work because it is so much more imaginitive.  

 

I'm trying to push my art to make it less dark.  For instance, here are a couple of pieces that are pretty typical of the kind of work I've been doing this past year.  I call this one, "The Bastard Monument: Security's Tabernacle, Liberty's Tomb"

 

 

And this one in a similar style is called simply, "Nexus"

 

 

 

 This is the sort of direction I'd like to head back to; this one is from about a year ago.  This one is called "Dream By  Day"

 

 

And, just to let you all know, putting my art on here is a frightening move for me, but this forum and my artwork are my two forms of self-therapy, and I just don't think I can keep the two separate any longer.  I know that putting my work on here makes it much more probable that someone I'd rather not will identify who I am.  Whatever; I need to move forward.

 

And I totally agree, that even the art we don't personally enjoy is valuable.  Art is like speech or music; it pushes the boundaries of what humanity is.  If we limit what is acceptable, we limit our potential.  Not everything we make will propel us forward.  But we must be free to explore unfettered or we will never go anywhere.

 Wow Draconis, those paintings are amazing.  I am particularly awed by the last one.

 

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Draconis, I like your work! I forgot to add that I like Christensen and think Kinkade is a hack.

 

hartlyn

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Draconis:

 This is the sort of direction I'd like to head back to; this one is from about a year ago.  This one is called "Dream By  Day"

 

 

Oh my goodness. This is wonderful, Draconis. Like I said, personal, creative stretching. I hope you pursue your talents.
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peter_mary:

Exhibit A:

 

Mormon Architecture

  

...fer instance...

 

 Speaking of Mormon architecture, the conference center looks to me like it was designed by a committee.What a hodge-podge of unrelated shapes and themes!
 
It has no strong central theme, unless they were shooting for something that looked like a cross between the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and a prison.
 
 
 
 
Below is an artists depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the foreground and the Tower of Babel in the the background. The similarity to the conference center design is ironic, don't you think?
 
 
 
 
 
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Jeff Ricks: Below is an artists depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the foreground and the Tower of Babel in the the background. The similarity to the conference center design is ironic, don't you think?

 

Babylon was the dominant world power 2600 years ago. I wonder if this hedonistic LDS structure will disappear into the sands of time just as did that ancient city faded into the mists of Iraq.

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Drac...love your work...absolutely love it!

 

You know, as I think about it, I wonder, if it was possible to measure objectively on some kind of "creativity" scale, if the demographic of Postmormons who are artists/creative is roughly the same as the demographic of active Mormons, or if there is a proclivity among artists/writers/creative people to outgrow the bounds of Mormonism, and if it would be safe to say you are MORE likely to leave the church if you are an artist?

 

I am inclined to believe that the probability for apostasy increases with a person's artistic orientation, but that it's not a solid predictor for apostasy.

 

Still, I can rattle off a long list of writers, artists, photographers, designers, architects, musicians, film makers and poets on Postmormon, and can't think of a single one (not ONE) in my ward.  I am aware of one woman in my previous ward who is a budding watercolorist, but I'm not moved by her work.

 

Oh, and tole painting little wooden figurines, and krafty-kountry signs with "Families are Forever" stenciled on them do not qualify as art...just in case anyone wanted to argue that one....

 

Anyway, It does make you go

 

 

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peter_mary:

  

This makes me want to write captions: 

 

 Jesus:  ... and then I said to Peter, James and John, 'it takes 10 mormons to screw in a lightbulb; one to say the prayer, another to make the jello salad, one to teach a lesson on how important the lightbulb is to your eternal salvation, 1 to consecrate the light socket, one to say the closing prayer and 5 to pay the tithing to keep the electricity going!'

 

Woman: ha ha ha, jesus, you're so funny.   

 

 

Draconis:  powerful artwork.  My mom did a series of works when her mother was dying of cancer, very powerful emotional pieces as well.

 

P_M/Bob:  Does this mean I can attribute my ability to leave the church to my mother, who currently teaches art/art history at a private school in Southern Utah, and her leaving all sorts of art books/art works around?  I've already thanked her for giving me the tool set to see the world in a broader perspective, but this thread makes me want to call her again and thank her.  She's a professional, but, in line with P_M's remarks about mormons making rigid artists, she's a NOM/closet apostate, which contributes to her artistic ability I'm sure.  Great thread, guys.

 
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Thanks for all the compliments on my artwork.  I know my style is not for everyone, and that's fine.  My goal is to express more than to impress.  It's always a little bit interesting sharing my work with people I'm getting to know, because I can never predict what their reactions will be.  Most people tell me that they would not expect the kind of work I do to come from someone with my nature.
 
peter_mary:

You know, as I think about it, I wonder, if it was possible to measure objectively on some kind of "creativity" scale, if the demographic of Postmormons who are artists/creative is roughly the same as the demographic of active Mormons, or if there is a proclivity among artists/writers/creative people to outgrow the bounds of Mormonism, and if it would be safe to say you are MORE likely to leave the church if you are an artist?

 

I am inclined to believe that the probability for apostasy increases with a person's artistic orientation, but that it's not a solid predictor for apostasy.

   

 

I think you have a point.  Here is my personal experience;

 

My mother majored in art at BYU.  She decided against a career in art because she didn't like the "culture" of it. 

 

She has always resisted my own choice to be an artist because she was afraid I'd get caught up in "that culture".  When I pressed her years ago to explain what she meant by that, she just started going off about how the artistic community is so liberal minded, too acccepting of new, weird ideas and that sort of thing.  She said something about gays, and something about coffee houses, blah blah blah.... I pretty much tuned her out because I had already made my mind up as a child that art was in my blood.

 

Then there are the figure drawing classes where you have to actually look at and study *gasp* naked people.  Getting comfrotable around naked people can't possibly be conducive to the spirit.

 

Art also has the effect of compelling us to look at life through the perspective of someone else.  That can't be very good for keeping the flock mentality, unless the art is done according to the shepherd's specifications.

 

 

 

 

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Jeff Ricks:
 Speaking of Mormon architecture, the conference center looks to me like it was designed by a committee.What a hodge-podge of unrelated shapes and themes!
It has no strong central theme, unless they were shooting for something that looked like a cross between the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and a prison.
 
Below is an artists depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the foreground and the Tower of Babel in the the background. The similarity to the conference center design is ironic, don't you think?
 

 

Very good point Jeff.

 

My theory is that Mormonism, first and foremost, wishes to portray itself as eternal.  A good start in that direction is solid and conservative.  Hence, the vague references to classic form and avoidance of anything that smacks of modernity.

 

best,

bob

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peter_mary:

 

You know, as I think about it, I wonder, if it was possible to measure objectively on some kind of "creativity" scale, if the demographic of Postmormons who are artists/creative is roughly the same as the demographic of active Mormons, or if there is a proclivity among artists/writers/creative people to outgrow the bounds of Mormonism, and if it would be safe to say you are MORE likely to leave the church if you are an artist?

 

I am inclined to believe that the probability for apostasy increases with a person's artistic orientation, but that it's not a solid predictor for apostasy.

 

I think I have mentioned this here before, but another round can't hurt.

 

The only psychological stat that correlates to changing one's inherited belief system is openness to new experience, or the degree of inclination to explore.  As the world continues to get bigger as a result of this exploration, the inherited beliefs (which don't tend to change as much) fit more ackwardly.  Cog dis increases, and eventually a tipping point is reached.  But still, only a small percentage of highly exploratory people radically change their religious orientation.

 

The less flexible and more dogmatic the faith, the more likely this is too occur.  For example, if you are a catholic there is a lot more room than most people think to be liberal.  Recall the two priests who appeared in Religilous.  So, as you explore you can find aspects of your religious group that continue to resonate to your new way of perceiving the world.

 

If you are JW or Mormon, there is less room for growth within the religous group.  If you are orthodoxly jewish, less still.  The most dogmatic of faiths (cults) deal with this issue by cutting off their members from all contact with the "outside" world. 

 

 

I am willing to bet that people who score high on measures or artisitic ability also tend to be more open to new experience than the norm.

 

best,

bob

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bob mcq:
Jeff Ricks:
 Speaking of Mormon architecture, the conference center looks to me like it was designed by a committee.What a hodge-podge of unrelated shapes and themes!
It has no strong central theme, unless they were shooting for something that looked like a cross between the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and a prison.
 
Below is an artists depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the foreground and the Tower of Babel in the the background. The similarity to the conference center design is ironic, don't you think?
 

 

Very good point Jeff.

 

My theory is that Mormonism, first and foremost, wishes to portray itself as eternal.  A good start in that direction is solid and conservative.  Hence, the vague references to classic form and avoidance of anything that smacks of modernity.

 

best,

bob

 

I hadn't thought of that connection between the great and spacious conference center and the hanging gardens of Babylon. Well done Jeff.

 

Bob, you make a good point in yellow.

 

As for your original post....I'm critically analyzing it for holes and I'm coming up short. Well done AFAI can tell.

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Draconis.

 

It takes courage to give everyone a glimpse into your "soul" by letting us look at your artwork.

 

Thanks for sharing your stuff.

IMHO, You got  skillz.

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peter_mary:
bob mcq:
peter_mary:

Creativity--real creativity--really must exist unfettered if it is to produce new and interesting art forms.  Granted, a lot of what is "discovered" in that journey doesn't always appeal to us (here, I cannot help but think of rap music...), but it's the exploration that matters.

 

Thanks PM.  We are on the same page.

 

Another point along these lines that I like - and I can't recall where I picked this up - is that an appreciation for irony is required to produce good art.  For example, evil and good are inextricably mixed in life, and the oddest combinations of these are moment to moment occurances in most of us.  It is hard for the seriously religious person to see infinite shades of grey in their clear cut world, and hence hard for them to create art that speaks deeply to the human condition.

 

The more dogmatic the religoius person, the more likely they are to be irony (and hence artistically) impaired.

 

best,

bob

Which leads me to another thought--dogmatic world-views no doubt lead a person to idealize what life SHOULD be, and portray that in artwork.  If "evil" exists in the art, it is being summarily dispatched, rather than wrestled with.  So we see not only dreamy, idealized visions of life, but the people are beautiful, idealized people, also.

 

And oddly, no one actually relates to them...

 

 

Most of us who would otherwise turn to Jesus for succor are not happy, smiley, beautiful people...  (In part, because most human beings do meet meet the criteria for beauty that do Greg Olsen's models...)

 

Subsequently, while the artwork achieves acceptance, it is meaningless, because it doesn't speak to anyone at a visceral level.  In fact, one could argue it's not art at all--it's an illustration, suitable for underscoring a religious point, but not for making an artistic statement.

 

 

 Well said. It is an illustration, but it is not art. I really like this thread. I think the original post was very insightful. I have no time to post more now...other than I like your dream by day piece Draconis... I just really wanted to post my agreement with this statement. 

 

 
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jahedgpeth:

Draconis.

 

It takes courage to give everyone a glimpse into your "soul" by letting us look at your artwork.

 

Thanks for sharing your stuff.

IMHO, You got  skillz.

 

Amen.  Visual emotion.

 

bob

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