Humanities, Art and Architecture
The Academic & Library Trade Review.
May 1999 Vol. 36 No.9
THE MISSION OF ART, BY ALEX GREY
Book review by R.M. Davis, Albion College
Artist Grey writes, without embarrassment, of the spiritual in art. For him, the general concept of “mission” involves a personal, passionate commitment to something and the mission of the artist is to “…make inner truths visible or audible, sensible in some way, via an external manifestation.” Of particular importance to Grey is visualizing the interface between body and spirit. Many of his own drawings are included, which both illustrate and exemplify his highly imaginative, symbolic, and transcendental exploration of the evolution of human consciousness. A little bit of this heady New Age fare goes a long way, but the reader cannot help but notice the total absence of such notions of God, spirit, and higher realities from contemporary mainstream American art, which, for all its eclecticism, regards such concepts as taboo. Grey’s candid approach counters both the sterility of Greenberg modernism and the “directionless, commercial confusion of post-modernism.” He is well read, articulate, and up-to-date, and his observations extend to artists ranging from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and William Blake to Mark Rothko, Georg Baselitz, Andres Serrano, and Jeff Koons. A good addition to any library collection. General readers; undergraduates though professionals.