The Marxist Weaponization of Art
By J. Davila-Ashcraft
Art, architecture, and music are reflections of the culture from which they spring. If that culture is healthy- that is, if it is God honoring and appreciates order and beauty- that culture’s arts will naturally express these qualities. For example, the beautiful paintings gracing the walls and ceilings of the great cathedrals of Western Europe encourage us in faith, while the majestic architecture that flawlessly incorporates statuary and beautiful patterns leaves one standing in awe of the creativity of humanity while simultaneously being reminded of the source of such skill- our Creator.
Music, too, carries a special inspirational quality. It causes us to muse on things of import. For example, we are moved to contemplate the importance of a holy life, thereby to look forward to the blessed vision of Our Lord after death when listening to the somber, yet exquisite music of Mozart’s Requiem, while the old hymns of the church encourage us, inspire us, and remind us of our true end- service to God and each other.
Sadly, many misunderstand the reason for those beautiful works of art that grace the historic churches of Western Europe and consider Mozart and old hymns as relics of a bygone era- irrelevant to the needs of Modernity. The cathedrals are looked upon, not as versions of the Gospel in stone and glass, but merely as excesses, when quite the contrary is true. They are not there simply as a matter of excess, but were created in an era when few had access to the written words of Sacred Scripture (remember that the printing press wasn’t invented until 1440), and fewer still could even read. These great paintings and sculptures served to teach biblical lessons through “word pictures”, and moved the eyes of men from the temporal concerns of the fields they toiled in, to the heavens from whence God would once again descend in glory. As Francis Schaeffer put it:
“A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God, not just as tracts, mind you, but as things of beauty to praise God. An artwork can be a doxology in itself.” 1
Unfortunately, art has ceased to be a focus or consideration of the Christian mind. Seminaries are more concerned with information than aesthetics, as if aesthetics had no grounding in Sacred Scripture, or indeed God. In an age when everything is instant, immediate, and solely functional, we have allowed ourselves to become mere utilitarians who eschew aesthetics, and thus given art over to the forces of secularism to exploit for their own purposes.
Art has, in the hands of Cultural Marxists (the American and European Left), been weaponized. The arts have become tools of warfare against a healthy organic Christian culture, order and beauty. Consider just a few recent examples.
The Huffington Post recently carried an article describing the work of an “heroic” and “queer” artist who as part of a performance piece at a Chicago art gallery, had his anus tattooed with the words “Make America Great Again”. This was, of course, a protest against the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. They quote the artist, Abel Azcona, as saying, “I always worked my body as a weapon and political tool.” He went on to say, quite forthrightly, “Art is the greatest critical, social and political weapon I know.”1Then there is Casey Jenkins, an Australian artist who sits in a gallery knitting scarves from yarn she inserts into herself while menstruating. This she titles“Casting Off My Womb”, in all her feminist angst and anger. 2
This brings to mind the quote from G.K. Chesterton:
“There are two senses in which an artist may work to awaken wonder. One is the basest and vulgarist kind of art; the other is the highest and noblest kind of art. The former is meant to make us wonder at the artist; the latter is meant to make us wonder at the world.” 3
And wonder at the distorted minds of such artists we do.
The same is, of course, true of the music industry. From the punk bands of the 70s and 80s, to Pop artists such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus, the prevailing socio-political agenda has been that of Cultural Marxism.
True art will always meet three guidelines.
- It must be a substantively accurate representation of the object.
- It must be well crafted, which lends it value based on its attention to detail and accurate representation.
- It must be inspired by the qualities of truth, love, beauty, order, will, strength, or other such expression of the human experience as man reaches for the higher qualities of moral life.
Modern, or Contemporary, art and music are in reality the antithesis of true artistic expression. They are “anti-art” if you will. Because the arts community is by and large comprised of Marxists (even if they do not use the term as such), their egalitarianism infects their understanding of artistic ability. In true revolutionary style art is considered something that anyone can do, and for which there is no inherent talent. The sole rule is that whatever is produced must conform to the Marxist worldview of the moment. This egalitarian and propaganda approach to art is the reason Modern art has a degrading quality, rendering it ugly and twisted- a distortion of real art. It is an expression of the most base desires of depraved man in all his immorality and rebellion, and as such by nature militates against all that is good, and beautiful, and orderly.
Modern art and music are expressions of the Marxist disdain for those things that give expression to the higher qualities of man and his desire to know his Creator. The truth is, Modern Artists are not really artists, but political activists creating weapons on canvas, in music, and in stone. They are revolutionaries promoting one Marxist concept after another under the very thin guise of art. One would be hard pressed not to laugh (if not fly into a rage) at the very suggestion that something as putrid and crude as Andres Serrano’s 1987 piece titled Immersion can in any wise be placed in the same category as Caravaggio’s The Supper at Emmaus or Titian’s portrait Empress Isabel.
In the final analysis contemporary art is simply an act of hatred and violence against God and a healthy culture.
1. Francis Schaeffer, Art and the Bible,
4. G.K. Chesterton, New Witness, 3/12/192Bio
J. Davila Ashcraft is a Christian Theologian, Apologist, and advocate of Paleo-Orthodoxy. He is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Theology. His website is: www.paleoorthodoxy.org
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