Why art became grotesque

By Tom Quiner

I stepped into the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Museum several years back and got the shock of my life.  The “art”, and I use the term loosely, was ugly.

It was pornographic.

It demeaned.

It was the kind of art that pulls you down into the muck.

In their main viewing area, they had a dingy video of two men having gay sex on a television monitor.

I would have asked for my money back, except I was there on a day when admission was free.


What happened to beautiful art?  I’m talking about the kind that lifts the soul, that thrills the senses, that simply “transcends.”  It’s out there.  But most of it was created before the 20th century.

The greatest art ever created was created in the name of Christ.  After all, what can be more beautiful than Jesus Christ?

And yet the Christian world has let the secular world take over the defining and creation of art.

The time has come for a renaissance of Christian art.  The time has come for Christians to become active participants in creating and supporting Godly beauty in the name of art.

In the video above, renowned artist Robert Florczak tells us how and why art descended into the grotesque, and what we can do about it.

Several years back, Pope Benedict XVI called on artists to “renew the Church’s friendship with the world of art.”

He’s talking to you.  And he’s talking to me.

He’s talking to the third-grader in art class.  Create beauty.  Share beauty.  Absorb beauty.

Think about it.  What are God’s attributes?  Truth.  Goodness.  Beauty.  Beauty is vital to the well-being of our very souls, for beauty is the reflection of God’s truth and goodness.

Let us create art that reflects that kind of beauty.

“Beauty … can become a path toward the transcendent, toward the ultimate mystery, toward God,” says the Pope.

The world will be won by beauty, not the grotesque.


  1. atimetoshare on November 19, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I’m with you, Tom. My husband is an artist and we both have difficulty understanding some of the art out there now. Even the arts have been corrupted, making it difficult for those who do beautiful normal images. Our world is insane.

    • quinersdiner on November 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks so much for weighing in. The arts are so important. They separate us from the animals. So-called modern art wants to make us more like animals rather than creatures who are made in God’s image. Thanks for writing.

  2. bluebird of bitterness on November 21, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Excellent video.

    True story: A woman I know went to a well-known Christian college some years ago. She was an artist, and wanted to major in art, because she loved to create beautiful things. One of her art professors informed her that that was tantamount to prostitution. Artists aren’t supposed to make beautiful things; they’re supposed to make things that are disturbing and transgressive and provocative. She wound up majoring in English instead.

    • quinersdiner on November 21, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Art and academia became corrupted together.

  3. Oliver on November 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    What bugs me just as much as visual art’s quality degrading is today’s “music” that barely qualifies as noise, or barbaric screeching of dying oxen. The “music” of today has never moved anyone to tears. It isn’t powerful and emotion provoking.

    Really, there is nothing like listening to Vivaldi. Particularly Concerto no. 2 in G minor. When you listen to classical music, it provokes an emotional reaction. It moves you to tears.

    Music is one of God’s great gifts to humanity, one of my personal favorites, and yet the so-called “music” of today rots people’s brains. What happened to art? We live in a crummy world. It’s so great to know that we know the creator of the world who invented beauty.

    • quinersdiner on November 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      We had a similar conversation at dinner tonight! I do like Vivaldi!