Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not Art for Art's Sake

"Art today is not just something to look at but has a mission to perform not much different from the mission of the Church." These are the words of the rector of the Incheon Catholic University of Art and Design in an interview with the Catholic Times. He says the school's mission is to form persons who will use their artistic talents to influence the culture of Catholicism; it will be a tool that can be used for evangelizing, by sending out into the world those that have been formed with this vision.
When this profound message is missing from Church art, we have a diminishment in quality. We need artists who have grafted religion and art in a way that can inspire and transmit the Christian message. In our world, it is necessary to break down the walls between disciplines so students are free to study what they want.
The place of  art in the culture of a society is important in the way religion will be seen. The Church needs to have a new understanding of the rightful place of art and culture in our lives. Diversity is a necessary ingredient in a fulfilled life. If this is not experienced, we will have impediments to religion, art and culture, and we will not be able to form mature artists. The rector said that in Germany, all have an  opportunity to participate in the creating and selecting of religious articles and religious art. 

The interviewer asked the rector what was the reason the University failed to get a good evaluation from the government. He said it was the result of the way the government appraises universities, considering all universities as places to educate for employment, comparing the Catholic University of Art and Design with other universities, using the same standard. Since their University does not have all the allowable seats taken, and many of their graduates were unemployed, this was seen as a negative in the evaluation.
The rector is committee chairman for the policies of the combined  art schools, and will make his suggestions known. At present, the foundational studies for an integral education are widely being discarded in schools throughout the country, but in the Catholic University the basic humanity courses, as well as others necessary in preparing for a career in the art world, are taken seriously.
Catholic University started 15 years ago and has grown rapidly. In the country, it is considered third in visual arts and fifth in pure art. The aim of the school is the formation of artists who have a message to give, not the once popular idea of art for art's sake.

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