The battle for art – part five: the bourgeois art gallery, capital’s House of the Lord

UM, Weisman Art Museum | Minneapolis, MN | Frank Gehry with MS&R

Symbols for the two great approaches to God the Self:

  • floors of lacquered woodgrain – the pathway of contemplative (Romantic) spiritual activity
  • walls of pure white – the surrounds of contemplative spiritual stillness

Lighting from the ceiling accentuates and unites floor, walls and artworks to form a spiritual whole – for Plotinus, the greatest contemplative activity in the greatest contemplative stillness.1


1. Think this a bit far-fetched? In the Roman banquet room the ceiling and floor were also significant – the ceiling symbolised the universe and the floor symbolised the earth.

And remember, art galleries and the layout of everything in them (including the cafeteria) are designed by people educated in both the theory and practice of art.


4 thoughts on “The battle for art – part five: the bourgeois art gallery, capital’s House of the Lord

  1. To live a life is to create a work of art. But, since we are mortal, it is a chalk painting in the public square. Walking the museum halls is a worshipful experience. Unfortunately, just as the rich have tried to buy their way into heaven with indulgences, large donations and loud proclamations of faith, they make a show of art acquisition and appreciation. Graffiti is the most sacred of all — fleeting, incapable of being purchased, painted on the sides of the machines of commerce. It defiled as it proclaims, tears down as it lifts up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robert,
      thanks for your comment. My point about contemplation, whether ‘still’ or ‘active’ is that, divorced from (testing in the) practice, it equates politically and economically to the maintenance of the status quo. That is its ideological function.

      Although graffiti too has been appropriated by capitalist ideologues on behalf of their masters, it, as you respond to with feeling, embodies a crucial lesson – nothing lasts except change – artistically or politically and economically.
      Best regards, Phil

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Robert,
        thank you for your question. I deleted my original response because I was not happy with it and I wanted to think more about my reply.

        In its etymology, there is a spiritual even religious aspect to ‘contemplation’ which sets that activity apart from engagement with the world (‘con-templum‘ – place set apart for the observation of auguries).

        I could contemplate the tail light of your vehicle, the removal of which light you posted on youtube.

        In doing so I would appreciate its smooth, elongated form, its colours, the play of light on its structure and the brilliance of its outward aspects.

        I could contrast these with the dullness and angularity of those parts concealed inside the structure of your vehicle.

        I could pass pleasurable time doing this.

        I could also do as you did – engage physically with it, using an appropriate tool to solve a problem (how to remove it – particularly, without breaking it).

        I could also, like you, make a video showing others how to do it, how to solve that problem.

        The first process of thinking is divorced from praxis, the second based on it.

        What do you think?

        Best regards, Phil


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s