Art in Action: Twards a Christian Aesthetic

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1980 - Art - 240 pages
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Taking vigorous issue with the pervasive Western notion that the arts exist essentially for the purpose of aesthetic contemplation, Nicholas Wolterstorff proposes instead what he sees as an authentically Christian perspective: that art has a legitimate, even necessary, place in everyday life. While granting that galleries, theaters and concert halls serve a valid purpose, Wolterstorff argues that art should also be appreciated in action -- in private homes, in hotel lobbies, in factories and grocery stores, on main street.

His conviction that art should be multifunction is basic to the author's views on art in the city (he regards most American cities as dehumanizing wastelands of aesthetic squalor, dominated by the demands of the automobile), and leads him to a helpful discussion of its role in worship and the church.

Developing an aesthetic that is basically grounded, yet always sensitive to the human need for beauty, Wolterstorff make a brilliant contribution to understanding how art can serve to broaden and enrich our lives.
 

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I have only looked at the references to Malraux. In this respect the book is often very misleading. Wolsterstorff has not read Malraux with enough care.

Contents

The Protestant View
84
The World Behind the Work
88
The Given With Which the Artist Works
91
The Artist and Fittingness
96
The Action of WorldProjection
122
In and Out of Worlds
125
The Ontology of Worlds
130
The Action of Projection
132

OUR INSTITUTION OF HIGH ART
19
Our Institution of High Art
21
Art for Contemplation
24
Separation of Art from Life
25
Immensity of Repertoire
28
The Critic in Our Institution of High Art
30
The Purpose for the Uses
32
Contemplation for Its Own Sake
34
Disinterested Contemplation and the Fine Arts
36
The Aesthetic
39
Inscape
45
Stylistic Diversity
46
Mysticism and the Religion of the Aesthetic
47
Artistic Creation
50
The Interiorizing of the Artist Community
59
AntiArt of Deaestheticization
61
ART IN CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
65
The Artist as Responsible Servant
67
Man an Earthling
69
Mans Vocation
72
Mans End
78
Redemption
83
Point of View
134
The Benefits of WorldProjection
144
Marcuse on the Benefits of WorldProjection
150
Norms in Art Artistic and Aesthetic Responsibility
156
Aesthetic Excellence
158
Aspects Irrelevant to Aesthetic Excellence
159
Beauty
161
Types of Aesthetic Merit
163
Norms for the Aesthetic
168
Aesthetic Excellence in What Is Not Produced for Aesthetic Delight
169
Concerning Works Aesthetically Good and Morally Bad
172
OUR STANCE TOWARD THE INSTITUTION OF HIGH ART
175
Liberation
177
City
178
Church
183
Tradition
189
Participation
192
MALRAUXS HUMANISTIC ALTERNATIVE
201
Expression and Revelation
215
Notes
223
Selected Bibliography
239
Copyright

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About the author (1980)

Nicholas Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus ofPhilosophical Theology at Yale University. Before going toYale he was Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College inGrand Rapids, Michigan, for thirty years.

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