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Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for…
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Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life (edição: 2017)

de Makoto Fujimura (Autor)

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"Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated."Many bemoan the decay of culture. But we all have a responsibility to care for culture, to nurture it in ways that help people thrive. In Culture Care artist Makoto Fujimura issues a call to cultural stewardship, in which we become generative and feed our culture's soul with beauty, creativity, and generosity. We serve others as cultural custodians of the future.This is a book for artists, but artists come in many forms. Anyone with a calling to create--from visual artists, musicians, writers, and actors to entrepreneurs, pastors, and business professionals--will resonate with its message. This book is for anyone with a desire or an artistic gift to reach across boundaries with understanding, reconciliation, and healing. It is a book for anyone with a passion for the arts, for supporters of the arts, and for "creative catalysts" who understand how much the culture we all share affects human thriving today and shapes the generations to come.Culture Care includes a study guide for individual reflection or group discussion.… (mais)
Membro:daddygluv
Título:Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life
Autores:Makoto Fujimura (Autor)
Informação:IVP Books (2017), 160 pages
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Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life de Makoto Fujimura

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I grew up with a brand of Christianity which saw culture as a threat. We engaged in culture wars to combat secular humanism and political correct pluralism. We were suspicious of cultural decay—immorality, socialism, science, heavy metal, the new-age, permissive poitical policies, guys with baggy pants and other pernicious attacks on our Christian worldview. Artists, for their part, were engaged in a culture war of their own— iconoclasts deconstructing institutions, tearing down conventions, destroying the status quo. When my tribe of Christians engaged in the arts, they either imitated secular artists with a thin Christian veneer or produced syrupy, saccharine Christian images (à la Thomas Kinkade). Neither artists or the Christians I knew were doing much to 'care for culture.'

Makoto Fujimura is a new breed of Christian artist. He is deeply steeped in Nihonga (traditional Japanese painting with specialized pigments and dyes). He is renowned for his artwork hanging in galleries around the world. He also founded the International Arts Movement and is currently the Director of Fuller's Seminary's Brehm Center. Fujimura's art is more icon than iconoclast. In fact, one recent project of his is an edition of the King James Version, illuminated by Fujimura's paintings. Fujimura's newest book, Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty in Common Life, exemplifies his approach to Arts & Culture, one decidedly different than that of a culture war. Instead, Fujimura looks for ways to steward culture, nurture beauty and generative creativity.

This book consists of nineteen short chapters which give a framework for artists and creatives, advice and encouragement. The first chapter, On Becoming Generative ( previously released as an ebook), gives an overview of what he calls 'generative thinking.' He describes a scene from 1983. Fujimura was a near-starving artist struggling to make ends meet, his wife Judy was in grad school. One day when Fujimura was worried about where their next meal came from, his wife walked in with a bouquet of flowers. Fujimura was indignant, but his wife's response was, "we need to feed our souls, too" (15).

His wife's bouquet became a metaphor for the generative—a fruitful generating of new life and hope. He describes how that experience was a genesis moment, a simple act which fed his soul and renewed his conviction as an artist (17), and generousity in valuing beauty over the worries of the day-to-day and scarcity (18). However, Fujimura also sees the need for generational thinking—"the inspiration to work within a vision for culture that is expressed in centuries and millennia rather than quarters, seasons or fashions" (19-20). In other words, our conception of arts and culture is shaped by the generations before us.

Fujimura goes on to describe what culture care is, "Culture care is to provide care for the culture's 'soul,' to bring to our cultural home a bouquet of flowers so that reminders of beauty—both ephemeral and enduring—are present even in the harshest environments where survival is at stake" (22). Fujimura's generative approach set him on a journey to 'create and present beauty' against the harsh, cynical backdrop of the New York city art world (26).

While Fujimura is not 'cultural warrior' he does stand in opposition to trends that are destructive to culture. He identifies two major pollutants in the river of culture as fragmentation and reductionism. "They are what I call overcommodification of art and utilitarian pragmatism" (34). They have the effect of causing artists in our 'stressed ecosystem' to sell short their artistic vision and output and become bottom feeders of culture for their own personal survival(36). Fujimura's encouragement is to enlarge our vision for the arts. The answer is not culture war but intentional stewardship of our cultural ecosystems. "Destruction and dissolution are far easier than creation and connection. We need vision, courage and perseverance" (43).

Fujimura discusses the need for personal soul care for artists, how beauty feeds our soul, working from the margins ('border walkers,' the meracstapa). calling and the ways business leaders, patrons, and investors make generative art and tending beauty possible. There are tons of practical advice, inspirational stories, and thoughts about culture, aesthetics, and theology. Fujimura illustrates his approach through opening up parts of his own journey as an artist and curator for the arts, and the wisdom he learned from philosophers, pastors, theologians, and fellow creatives.

Fujimura is one of my favorite contemporary artists (my wife was lucky enough to take a class with him at Regent College one summer). I cherish his thoughts on the creative process and culture care. While his focus is on culture care for artists (broadly defined), his discussion of beauty needs to be recovered by the whole church (artists lead the way). I give this book five stars and recommend it for artists, poets, musicians, pastors, business leaders and anyone else that has a stake in shaping culture. ★★★★★

Note: I received a copy of this book from InterVarstiy Press in exchange for my honest review ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Summary: A call for a different kind of engagement with culture, one of care, of becoming generative, rather than engaging in war or battle, to foster beauty in our common life.

To read this book was a moving experience for me, one about which I wrote ("Culture Care Instead of Culture War") while reading the book. I found a voice that resonated deeply with my longing for alternatives to the banal, rancorous and ugly expressions of culture around us. Fujimura invites us to care for our culture rather than engage in war over it, to give our selves to a common pursuit of beauty to sustain and renew our common life.

He invites all who are creative in some way to exercise their creativity generatively. Often this involves "genesis moments" where failure and tragedy gives way to something new. It is generous in a world that often just thinks of survival. Becoming generative means thinking across generations, observing the work of those who have gone before us, working for a generation at our own creative work, and passing this along to future generations.

The rest of the book elaborates what a generative care of culture looks like. He begins by paralleling culture care with the creation care movement. He invites us to look at similar fragmentation in our communal life and the divide between technological efficiency and the love of beauty and art, or the divides between groups contending for their vision of culture, the culture wars. He proposes instead that, "Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care." Such care may begin with care for our own souls, as we face our own brokenness and understand we are wounded healers. We then begin caring for culture by our efforts to bring forth beauty out of brokenness.

He proposes the idea of artists as mearcstapas or "border stalkers." Artists are often those at the boundaries of society, the liminal spaces between groups, an often uncomfortable place to be. They are like Aragorn, "Strider," in The Lord of the Rings, and capable of great leadership in reconciliation across the divides between groups. He shares the example of Mahalia Jackson, an artist sitting behind Dr. King at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 as he gave a somewhat "set" speech until she called out to him, "Tell 'em about the dream!" Artists can call forth the "dreams" toward which we long and live, and which we sometimes suppress. He writes of Emily Dickinson and Vincent van Gogh, both at the margins of the church, who in their art challenged the rigidities that drove them to the margins where they struggled with faith.

This leads to a striking declaration of Fujimura's own calling that left me both breathless and saying "Yes! Yes!" He writes,

"I am not a Christian artist. I am a Christian, yes, and an artist. I dare not treat the powerful presence of Christ in my life as an adjective. I want Christ to be my whole being. Vincent van Gogh was not a Christian artist either, but in Christ he painted the heavens declaring the glory of God. Emily Dickinson was not a Christian poet, and yet through her honest wrestling, given wings in words, her works, like Vincent's, like Harper Lee's, like Mahalia Jackson's--speak to all the world as integrated visions of beauty against injustice.

"It is time for followers of Christ to let Christ be the noun in our lives, to let our whole being ooze out like a painter's colors with the splendor and the mystery of Christ, the inexhaustible beauty that draws people in. It is time to follow the Spirit into the margins and outside the doors of the church" (pp. 84-85).

The last chapters of the book suggest some helpful images and practical considerations of culture care that seemed to me a generative gift to young artists. Fujimura speaks of soil care, that art is nourished in the rich soil of the whole, expansive gospel of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. He writes of estuaries, transitional habitats for apprentice artists. He commends business practices and gives practical advice for young artists, including his own example of "raising support" even while in art training. He then concludes with a vision that transcends the fear that drives culture war and asks "what if" a paradigm of culture care were to replace this.

At least part of why I resonate so deeply with what Fujimura writes is that I feel I've become increasingly uneasy hiding behind the evangelical culture war walls and have been drawn more to the boundaries as a "border-stalker" or mearcstapa. Like Fujimura, I haven't abandoned evangelical faith, but I find myself increasingly drawn to care for the culture (as well as the creation) rather than war on either. Perhaps it has been the discovery that I live with two artists.

A number of years ago, I woke up to the reality that one of my wife's deepest longings was to give herself to painting, and began to ask what it means to "husband" such a longing. The greater surprise was to discover that the other artist with whom I was living was myself as I found culture caring joy as a choral singer and a writer. I even joined my wife's artist friends in picking up sketchpad and paint brushes and entered into their world. Instead of polemical conflict I find myself increasingly exploring the common ground of beauty which seems one of the most conducive atmospheres to conversations about the "beautiful Savior."

My apologies for the biographical digression. What I hope this conveys is that Fujimura gave language and a clearer vision to my inchoate thoughts and images about a different engagement with culture. If that is where you find yourself, you might find this book as helpful as I did. At very least, you will know what is a mearcstapa!

______________________________

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  BobonBooks | Mar 4, 2017 |
Most artists feel as if they're living on the fringe of culture. Christian artists especially feel this disconnect between the church and their work. Fujimura explores the reasons for this disconnect and begins to outline a plan to overcome it. As an artist, himself, the author offers insight into the value that artists provide to communities. One of the things I particularly like about the book is the discussion concerning how we define value. The author stresses that an economic perspective is only one value criteria, and often a poor one for determining the full value of something. The things that matter most in life are often unrelated to money.

Recommended for artists of any faith who struggle with how to fit into contemporary culture. ( )
  Neftzger | Aug 12, 2015 |
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"Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated."Many bemoan the decay of culture. But we all have a responsibility to care for culture, to nurture it in ways that help people thrive. In Culture Care artist Makoto Fujimura issues a call to cultural stewardship, in which we become generative and feed our culture's soul with beauty, creativity, and generosity. We serve others as cultural custodians of the future.This is a book for artists, but artists come in many forms. Anyone with a calling to create--from visual artists, musicians, writers, and actors to entrepreneurs, pastors, and business professionals--will resonate with its message. This book is for anyone with a desire or an artistic gift to reach across boundaries with understanding, reconciliation, and healing. It is a book for anyone with a passion for the arts, for supporters of the arts, and for "creative catalysts" who understand how much the culture we all share affects human thriving today and shapes the generations to come.Culture Care includes a study guide for individual reflection or group discussion.

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