Of Art and Trousered Apes


Life without God is madness.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the absurd world of modern “art.”  In 1985, Jeff Koons assembled a work that consisted of three basketballs submerged in a fish tank. It symbolized, he proclaimed during one interview, “pre-birth”, “equilibrium,” “the eternal,” and “life after death,” among other things. It eventually sold for $150,000.

"Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank" by Jeff Koons (1985)

This pseudo-intellectual insanity, at once amusing and depressing, is the inevitable refuse of a society that has rejected the Word. Life is meaningless without the Logos, for the Logos is the creative and dynamic Being who orders all things.

Various beasts are capable of applying color to canvass. We have all seen television specials featuring the work of elephants and apes. These pieces are always the same: random, abstract, chaotic. They are cute, but not profound.

True art is the imitation of the Logos. Art is accomplished when man summons the reasonable creativity instilled in his soul by God. It is unique to man because the imago Dei is unique to man.

Thus the work of Koons and his ilk cannot rightly be called art. It is anti-art. Indeed, it is anti-Christ, for it implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) denies the supremacy of the Logos, and the likeness of the Logos that subsists within the human heart.

Saint Paul wrote, “Walk not as Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18). This divine insight helps us understand the irrationality of anti-art. Separation from God is madness: darkness of mind and heart.

Art, rightly understood, is not a secular pursuit. It is rather a spiritual activity of the highest order. When man creates art, he participates in the Logos, the dynamic Intelligence who yields order and beauty.

We see all around us the decay of artistry. This degeneration should come as no surprise, given the dismal spiritual state of our civilization. What beauty and profundity should we expect from men who believe themselves to be trousered apes?

It is high time for Christians, those disciples of the Word, those children of the Logos, to bear sweet cultural fruit.


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