The Mission of Art Paperback – Mar 13 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In this Technicolor manifesto calling for a renewed spiritual content in modern art, Grey argues that contemporary artists have lost touch with the search for transcendence that infused the work of such masters as Michelangelo, van Gogh, Pollock and Kahlo. In a freewheeling narrative, Grey compares what he sees as the materialism and moral irresponsibility of most contemporaryart to his own creative endeavors, which draw on meditation, visualization, shamanic drumming, Taoism, yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. The book is bursting with his own mystical paintings and drawings, depicting floating cosmic eyes, the soul leaving the body of a dying person, haloed skulls, metaphysical thought-diagrams, human torsos lit from within by chakras or psychic energy centers. If this sounds reminiscent of the psychedelic 1960s, that may be because, as Grey freely admits, "sacramental" hallucinogens like LSD and mescaline have been a source of inspiration for him since the mid-1970s. He's found equal inspiration, however, in the works of Blake, Kandinsky and the drawings he made of Michelangelo's sculptures and paintings during a 1994 trip to Italy. Grey acknowledges a big debt to transpersonal psychology, the study of manifold dimensions of human consciousness, a science whose leading philosopher, Wilber, contributes the hyperbolic foreword ("Alex Grey might be the most significant artist alive"). As a hodgepodge of art-historical analysis, social commentary and spiritual philosophizing, the book is so idiosyncratic, and sometimes so preachy, that many readers will find it difficult to penetrate. But Grey's insistence that art should be a revelatory and healing force in our culture should resonate with artists in virtually any discipline.
Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Alex Grey's mission is nothing less than the transformation of our 'depleted world' through art that supports the evolution of human consciousness. He discusses the lives and work of artists throughout history, and his own journey, as examples of the higher mission of art, and encourages others to break out of the prevailing mood of irony and cynicism and create work with the heart and spirit."— Yoga Journal
"An inspirational text for artists and for everyone else who has ever had a glimpse of art's power for personal catharsis and spiritual awakening."— Branches of Light
"Grey's insistence that art should be a revelatory and healing force in our culture should resonate with artists in virtually any discipline."— Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
As the world seems to plummet ever deeper into eco-devastation and strife, to continue to hold out faith in general processes of human spiritual "evolution" which are aided by art, as Grey does, appears to demand ever more credulity. In my view, one can now realistically expect mystical art only to be a source of some personal inspiration and an exemplar of humanity's highest but tragically failed ideals.Read more ›
I urge anyone who loves and appreciates art, especially art students, to make this book both a part of your "way of seeing," and "being in," the world.
In The Mission of Art, Grey gives us a glimpse of his expanded transcendent view of reality, which includes dimensions seen and unseen. His sublime vision embraces the polarities of good and evil, beauty and horror, but ultimately transcends the limitations of both. His words and art bring us to a hauntingly familiar archetypal place within which is ultimately beyond these dualities. The ability to do this, as he with eloquent, gentle wisdom puts forth, is itself the "highest" of the many functions of art. Grey's dozens of illustrations, reminiscent of Blake but for me more transformative, fill the book with a noumenal force which several times brought me to poignant tears of divine remembrance. What makes Grey's work so powerfully authentic is that it is a product of his own direct experience of transpersonal states of consciousness. The highest function of the artist, he submits, is to capture the essence of this universal transcendent experience, and through art, share it as gifts to humanity. Grey not only shares these archetypal, imaginal realms with us but goes further. Bespeaking his spiritual maturity, Grey points to the necessity of going BEYOND all form in our inward journey that we will all one day take back our common Formless Source.
Grey's art, and this book, itself fulfills the highest function of art by showing us what is on the other side of the inner veil, and potentially ushering us to its threshold. -Eliot Jay Rosen, author of Experiencing the Soul
Most recent customer reviews
Inspiring book, only thing that disappointed me was the black and white illustrations inside the book.Published 18 months ago by tanios nims
Mr. Grey is a modern day Avatar. The proof is in the Art.
If you care about Art, and feel like many, that Art can save the world, then this text can shed alot of light and... Read more