Learning to Interact with Art

Learning to Interact with Art

As I have been trying to learn more about art in my role as Director of Berliner Freiraum, I am learning a lot about art.  That means reading books, researching, visiting museums, going on trips to visit other galleries, and doing my best to learn as much as possible as fast as possible.  As I have done that, I have found that my appreciation for different styles of art has broadened.  I have also found times when looking at certain works of art creates unexpected emotional responses.  Sometimes I react very strongly against certain art works. Why?  As I have been thinking about that, I thought about how I have at times also had a strong negative initial reaction to a person.  Have you ever met another person that you just did not like?  A person who just rubbed you the wrong way?  I remember a few times when that has happened to me.  I met someone, and it just seemed like relating to them was harder than it should be.  I have learned three different ways to approach that. Go with Your Gut There is the often heard approach, “Go with your gut.”  This response argues that you cannot like everyone, and everyone will not like you.  When you do not like someone, let it go and move forward.  I think that this can be a legitimate approach, but not without it’s dangers. My problem is that I often try to be too rational, and I do not always trust my initial emotional responses.  This is because in my experience with this kind of emotional, instinctive response shows...

The gift of an and

When we opened Berliner Freiraum in May 2014 we had a building – and had to develop a concept (agreeably not the normal way of starting something!) Our concept developed into having a place (1) where people could meet others; (2) where people could develop their skills, talents, and gifts; (3) where people could be creative and experience and enjoy the creativity of others; (4) where people could see and experience joy. Our art exhibits, small concerts, music/praise-and-worship evenings as well as hosting events that include kids programs, youth groups, Bible Studies, church meetings, College classes, business meetings, and birthday parties have fit right into what we are trying to do.  We want to be a “Greenhouse”  for people and groups that bring people together and help them grow – personally and in their areas of talent/expertise.  When creativity and joy are a part of what that group wants to do, that is a “Home Run” connection. Our concept brings diverse groups together, which has led to interesting conversations.  I shared a couple of weeks ago about the questions some people have about children and art. Another group of people that we bring together is Christians and Artists. Usually, this is not a problem – but sometimes people are confused by the connection. During one of our art exhibits, I was visiting with one of the guests on the first opening night.  His question?  What does God have to do with art?  He also was very curious to find out that “Christians” would have anything to do with art.  That whole theme is a topic for a different post....

More than just beauty.

In May of 2014 we opened Berliner Freiraum, a gallery and meeting place in the center of one of Berlin’s most known gallery districts. My Bacherlor’s degree in Youth Ministry and a Master’s degree in Ministry Leadership have served me well, allowing me to work in pastoral jobs that I have loved, but I can’t say that my choice of studies was the right one for running an art gallery.  Of course, I never thought I would be leading an art gallery! That is not to say that I did not appreciate art.  A lot of my art appreciation centered around looking for beauty in art.  I loved (and still love!) seeing art that is “beautiful”.  Everyone has different views of what is beautiful.  I love some of the Impressionists like Monet.  His Water Lilies painting has long been one of my favorites.  The combinations of colors, the light and the life in this picture is something I never get enough of.  I know it is completely unfair, but Monet is the Rubrik I often use to judge other Impressionists. I also love the Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich.  Chalk Cliffs on Rugen is one of my favorites of his pictures.  A German painter from the early 1800’s, Friedrich often painted moody landscapes: crashing waves, mist and ruins, sometimes with isolated, lonely looking figures.  Chalk Cliffs on Rugen has some classic Friedrich elements – like the dominating landscape that makes the figures look small.  But I love the life and light in the picture.  The curiosity of the figures.  The woman holding onto a bush (some think it is Caspar’s wife), and the...