Posts tagged "Dan Siedell"

The Drunken Downfall (and Death) of Thomas Kinkade

The Drunken Downfall (and Death) of Thomas Kinkade

To be honest, I didn’t even know Thomas Kinkade was dead. That was until I read this fascinating piece on Kinkade, America’s favorite sentimental “Painter of Light,” from The Daily Beast by Zac Bissonnette: “The Drunken Downfall of Evangelical America’s Favorite Painter.” I also had no idea Kinkade was (a) an Evangelical Christian and (b) an alcoholic. The story is at once alarming, yet not surprising, and ultimately really sad. Thus, I can’t help but explore it here.

(Before I move on, I should preface this essay by noting that Kinkade died on Good Friday two years ago, so I was probably distracted…

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NYC Preview: Searching for Myself at the MoMA

From art historian, curator, and King’s College professor Dan Siedell:

Can’t wait for the Spring Mockingbird Conference? Let’s get an early start—at the Museum of Modern Art. Meet me on the front steps of St. Thomas Episcopal Church on W. 53rd and Fifth Avenue (1 West 53) at 2:00pm on Thursday, April 3.  We’ll walk next door to MoMA and spend a couple hours in front of some of the most important paintings in the modern tradition, paintings that challenge our expectations. In 1899 the young painter Henri Matisse purchased a little painting of Paul Cézanne’s at great financial sacrifice. In an interview in 1925, long after he had achieved international acclaim, Matisse confessed:

cezanne.applesIf you only knew the moral strength, the encouragement that his remarkable example gave me all my life! In moments of doubt, when I was searching for myself, frightened sometimes by my discoveries, I thought: “If Cézanne is right, I am right.” And I knew that Cézanne had made no mistake.

We’ll look at paintings by Matisse and Cézanne as well as many others (including an exhibition of Paul Gauguin’s work) and explore the fragility of identity through our experience of these awkward and wobbly pictures. The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote about his long struggle to understand Cézanne’s paintings, which fascinated and perplexed him,

I remember the puzzlement and insecurity of one’s first confrontation with his work…And then for a long time nothing, and suddenly one has the right eyes….

As we walk through the galleries at MoMA, we’ll keep Matisse’s doubt and fear and Rilke’s “right eyes” before us. And we’ll explore how these strange looking pictures address us as vulnerable sufferers, in constant search for ourselves, and help us to learn to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5: 7).

Admission is $25.

The conference will be at St. George’s Episcopal Church in NYC April 3-5, 2014. For the full schedule, go here; to register, here.

A Monument to Loss

A Monument to Loss

This insightful and personal reflection on Edvard Munch’s work, as well as the plans for a new museum commemorating it, comes from our friend Daniel A. Siedell.

One of my most cherished memories from last year was a trip to New York City to see Edvard Munch’s The Scream on view at the Museum of Modern Art. The painting had made news in May 2012 because it was purchased by New York collector and businessman Leon Black for $120 million, at the time the most ever paid at auction for a work of art.

But The Scream has been an American pop…

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Another Week Ends: One Way Love, Lutheran Sounding Anglicans, Hard Working Protestants, Prosperity Soporifics, Game of Thrones, Scientism, Camus Texts, and The Blerch

Another Week Ends: One Way Love, Lutheran Sounding Anglicans, Hard Working Protestants, Prosperity Soporifics, Game of Thrones, Scientism, Camus Texts, and The Blerch

1. Very much still reeling from this morning’s news about our hero Robert Farrar Capon, may he rest in peace. In tribute, Justin Holcomb compiled a wonderful list of quotes over on his superb new site. Of course, if anyone should be counted among Father Capon’s spiritual progeny, it is our dear friend Tullian Tchividjian, who posted some of his favorite Caponisms as well. I have it on good authority that Tullian’s forthcoming One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World features Capon’s voice quite prominently–almost as prominently, in fact, as that other Episcopal grace guru of whom we are…

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Another Week Ends: New Atheism and the Church, Jonah Lehrer on Redemption, Empathy with Batman, Wiman’s Incarnational Faith, End-of-School-Year Mothers, Billy Joel, and Eurovision

Another Week Ends: New Atheism and the Church, Jonah Lehrer on Redemption, Empathy with Batman, Wiman’s Incarnational Faith, End-of-School-Year Mothers, Billy Joel, and Eurovision

1. First off, Larry Taunton at The Atlantic has spent the last few years working through the whole “New Atheist” thing from the perspective of traditional Christianity, in particular listening (!) expansively to many committed, thought-through atheists. A nice round-up of his observations appeared this past week, with lots of food for thought, ht EB:

Slowly, a composite sketch of American college-aged atheists began to emerge and it would challenge all that we thought we knew about this demographic. Here is what we learned:

They had attended church

Most of our participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions at all, but in reaction to…

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Death and Life in the Artist’s Studio – Dan Siedell

Nearing the finish line, we are thrilled to present Dan Siedell’s session from our recent NYC conference, complete with an integrated slideshow. Do yourself a favor:

You may download the audio recording by clicking here. Interested parties should also be sure to check out Dan’s “Who’s Afraid of Modern Art?” lecture.

Who’s Afraid of Modern Art?

Who’s Afraid of Modern Art?

Last Wednesday, Mbird friend and conference speaker Dan Siedell visited Charlottesville and gave a wonderful talk on modern art and Christianity. What made the talk compelling – among other things – was its confessional bent, an admittedly unshakable love of modern art despite questions as to its usefulness and a constant difficulty to justify that love along religious grounds. Rather than a forced dialogue between Christianity and modern art, we see two genuine, agenda-less loves of both, striving to come to terms with each other in an honest, profound, and emotionally charged way. But enough by way of intro: some of the…

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2013 NYC Conference Recordings: Good News That Never Gets Old

2013 NYC Conference Recordings: Good News That Never Gets Old

Another heartfelt thank-you to everyone who helped put on this year’s Mockingbird Conference in NYC, especially our friends at Calvary St. George’s Church. It’s a good thing most of the presentations below have to do with grace, as the very thought of trying to top it is incredibly scary…! Speaking of freebies, though, we are once again making the recordings available at no charge; we only ask that those who were not able to attend this year *consider* making a donation to help cover the cost of the event. Download links are followed by an in-line player for each recording….

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Death and Life in the Artist’s Studio: A Breakout Session

Death and Life in the Artist’s Studio: A Breakout Session

In Dead Man (1995), a Native-American guide named “Nobody” confronts an accountant from Cleveland (played by Johnny Depp) about his own name. When Depp’s character affirms that, indeed, his name is “William Blake,” Nobody exclaims:

Then you are a dead man!

Each artist suffers to learn in her own way what William Blake must learn. Whether it is Anselm Kiefer making gigantic paintings in a huge studio in the south of France or a student in grad school in the Midwest sharing a refurbished office with three others, the suffering and the death is the same. A young person initially becomes an…

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Another Week Ends: Poptropica Love, Retrospective Bullies, Foolish Proof, Colbert Logs, Lucille Bluth, and the Nabokov-Anderson Connection

Another Week Ends: Poptropica Love, Retrospective Bullies, Foolish Proof, Colbert Logs, Lucille Bluth, and the Nabokov-Anderson Connection

1) Club Penguin is one of several multimedia and game sites geared towards tweens from the ages of seven to twelve. Club Penguin itself has over 200 million registered users worldwide, and was purchased by Disney not long ago.  And there are plenty of others: Poptropica, Wee World, Moshi Monsters, Fantage. Alongside the sheer breadth of these programs’ appeal to children, they also seem to picking up the tendencies of commensurate older-kid web lives. In other words, 8-year-old kids are getting boyfriends and girlfriends online, ht JD.

Kids pair off by asking “say 123 if u want me” and break up…

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Hearing Grace in Modern Art: A Conference Breakout

Hearing Grace in Modern Art: A Conference Breakout

Let’s not kid ourselves. Modern art is a buzz kill. It’s strange, intimidating, and puts you on the spot. How many times have you been to a museum and stared at a painting of emaciated lines and distorted shapes, knowing you should “get it,” but just can’t, and as the room fills up with what are clearly people who have “gotten it,” you feel the anxiety. As a museum curator and art history professor for nearly twenty years, I know the look on your face. (But those people next to you that seem so sophisticated, who have The Answer to…

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Another Week Ends: Un-Free Shoppers, Artists, Procrastinators, Middle Class Ambitions, Celebrity Spectacles, Keanu Talks Bill and Ted Three

Another Week Ends: Un-Free Shoppers, Artists, Procrastinators, Middle Class Ambitions, Celebrity Spectacles, Keanu Talks Bill and Ted Three

1. Good news for the procrastinators out there. The Wall Street Journal published “How To Be A Better Procrastinator” this week, which analyzes when and why procrastinators procrastinate–and, surprise suprise–it has a lot to do with judgment and perfectionism. Normalizing its symptoms, the article gives some gracious comfort to those who have always looked at their habits as a hedge to their successes. In fact, it’s just a part of being human. And more than that, the dawdling before getting down to business doubles as a fruitful getting lost that actually aids productivity and creativity. Still, people are inclined to view…

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