Writing in a different vein than the somewhat predictable and often uncharitable Christian critiques of modern and contemporary art made by theologians, philosophers, and Christian artists, Daniel Siedell sets out a book of criticism 'nourished by a Nicene Christianity that seeks to embrace all that is good, true, and beautiful.' A professor of modern and contemporary art history, criticism, and theory at the University of Nebraska, Siedell is a former museum curator of modern and contemporary art who has spent most of his professional career outside the bounds of professional Christendom. Interestingly, his experience of certain currents in contemporary art have significantly modified his practice of Christianity, provoking a retrieval of the ancient fullness of the faith 'as a network of robust liturgical, sacramental, and ascetic practices,' which in turn provide a provocative framework for understanding contemporary art. The seven essays in this book form an idiosyncratic but comprehensive critical engagement with modern and contemporary art, moving fluently between history, theology, iconography, theory, artistic intention, and the consideration of a single painting by Enrique Martínez Celaya (a study of artistic practice as structured and shaped by a religious worldview). Long needed as an alternative to traditional 'Christian' criticism, God in the Gallery is (to quote a reviewer), 'a seminal work of interpretation'-subtle, nuanced, and deeply experienced. 362 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Is contemporary art a friend or foe of Christianity? Art historian, critic, and curator Daniel Siedell, addresses this question and presents a framework for interpreting art from a Christian worldview in "God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art." As such, it is an excellent companion to Francis Schaeffer's classic "Art and the Bible." Divided into three parts--"Theology," "History," and "Practice"--"God in the Gallery "demonstrates that art is in conversation with and not opposed to the Christian faith. In addition, this book is beautifully enhanced with images from such artists as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Enrique Martinez Celaya, and others. Readers of this book will include professors, students, artists, and anyone interested in Christianity and culture.