Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dangerous Art

The following is an article from David Taylor, the Austin-based playwright and pastor who is speaking at our Artists' Retreat in April. He is doing some research for a symposium on the theme of art and danger and would love to get some feedback from you guys so all his information isn't coming from the South. You can reply by commenting directly on his blog at or by commenting here and beginning a conversation with our readers and contributors. We're really looking forward to getting to know David and his wife in April.

I am beginning my research for my talk at the symposium. My given title is: What are the dangers of artistic activity? and I would covet your opinions and perspectives. Here are a few areas for exploration.

1. Think of your personal experience. What experiences of art for you have been negative or destructive or debilitating or stifling or confusing?

2. Think of your church setting. What are dangers in high church settings and in the low church settings? High art practices and pop art practices?

3. Think of sins of commission and omission. In what ways are dangers things done or things left undone? In what ways is a danger a "too much" or a "too little"?

4. Think of cultural and societal patterns. In the advance and proliferation of media technologies, how are the arts being enlisted to serve ends that do not contribute to the well-being of humans or communities or cities?

5. Think of the artist and the audience. What are dangers peculiar to the artist, separate from the work? What are dangers peculiar to an audience--from a mass audience to a select audience?

Think whatever you want. All I care is to hear what you think are dangers--past dangers, present dangers, future dangers, actual dangers, potential dangers, fantasy dangers, small and big, yours and theirs.

Lastly, for fun, in addition to any of your observed dangers, tell me a way in which you might become the one to produce something dangerous; and by dangerous I don't mean daring, prophetic, "people just aren't ready for me yet" kind of dangerous art, I mean good old fashioned, "produced by a fallen creature" dangerous art.

David Taylor blogs at

1 comment:

Mosscow said...

Dangerous Art... YES. Cut through it. Get to it. I love that this is the subject for an Arts Symposium, because we dance oh-so delicate. We don't want to step on toes - and (quite often) we just want to make a living, and usually 'dangerous art' has this strange habit of not-quite-matching the couch.

I've been scouring my brain recently while writing a screenplay for film; there are many beautiful elements present, set on a raw, contemporary landscape. The story touches on subjects we don't often confront directly head-on in a Sunday sermon - primarily self-inflicted pain, whether it be drug abuse, sex addiction (straight and homosexual), physical masochism or the simple quest for fame & money.

I'm certainly not writing it for The Church, although there will be an element of redemption that ironically may ring most poignant to those who feel they've already earned a backstage pass to the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, I have a feeling it will be shunned by many clerical circles based on it's salacious movie poster alone - and for that, my soul is heavy.