This week we welcome the great Frank Schaeffer to discuss modern art, the fight against human trafficking, and why we aren’t outraged about tech companies Frank compares to “modern day slave ships”. It’s an illuminating discussion, and it goes long because everything Frank was saying was awesome.

Later, Amy is afraid of drowning, so none of us should ever go underwater again.

In the Echo Chamber, we’re discussing Game of Thrones and the 9th episode, which rocked everyone’s world. (If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, skip the show from about the 47:50 mark to the 54:00 minute mark). Then it’s on to the resurrected Arrested Development, and the gang is decidedly split so far.


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Exile Child
Exile Child

I read Francis Schaeffer's "How Should We Then Live?" when I was in college. I think Frank inherited some of the same viewpoints about art as his dad: it is the perspective of an outsider. I don't mean that in an elitist way. Outsiders tend to be dismissive. It is akin to a preacher demonizing modern philosophy when he/she hasn't actually read any of the books or pondered the arguments: it leads to a mischaracterization of the real issues. 

Hating on Damien Hirst is an easy target. In fact, most artist's harbor the same reservations. Damien Hirst is a statistical inevitability in a global, capitalist economy like ours. I personally think he has done some interesting work regarding religious symbolism, mortality, and value systems, but he is not for everybody.

Frank has idealized the art historical past with an appeal to skill and craft, which contrary to his judgment, is not a forgotten attribute. Just because contemporary art is most often talked about through the lens of intellectual concept, social commentary and political implication doesn't mean that most established artist's wake up every morning and are content to come up with a new twist on whatever looks fashionable and edgy. 

If Frank is going to speak with authority and level such a biting critique on contemporary art, he has the responsibility to name at least one living artist who is doing something honest and good. The art world is huge, yet much more complex and rewarding than the art market or Damien Hirst. If Christians adopt the idea that contemporart art is vapid, and can only comment on Damien Hirst, then they will decline in influence and lose respect. If someone wants a taste of high quality, rigorously stimulating and complexly beautiful contemporary art, they should look into Tim Hawkinson, Los Carpinteros, Shirin Neshat, James Turrell, Ai Weiwei, or a few thousand lesser known masters of their craft.

Marc Shoemaker
Marc Shoemaker

Loved the interview--a lot to think about. I need to pick up one of Frank Schaeffer's books now.