By Gregory & Ernest Disney-Britton
Max Beckmann's "Bird's Hell" (1937). Oil on canvas, 47 1/4 x 63 1/4 in.
For Expressionist painter Max Beckmann, there were two worlds, one of spiritual life and the other of political life. In this week's Art of the Week, "Bird's Hell," now set for auction in June, the artist is asking the viewer to decide which is more important? It is a terrifying image of Nazism, reflecting even the clergy who joined Hitler and symbolized by a black-frocked, bespectacled bird just below the loudspeakers. Jon McNaughton, a painter, living in Utah, answers Beckmann's question by politicizing the spiritual and is now a favorite of GOP Republicans. Jesus however, was clear about two things — "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." He avoided politics, and in Mark 12:17 he advises us to avoid it too.

Prayer for today: Heavenly father, thank you for artists like Max Beckmann who remind us to keep the political world separate from the spiritual world, just like Christ. 

For other NEWS OF WEEK from across the USA, and around the world, see below:
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Buddhist Art of Week: "Encountering Buddha" at the Sackler
Christian Art of WeekDaniel Mitsui's iconographic bible
Hindu Art of Week"The Rama Epic" wins museum awards
Islamic Art of Week: Mammadov Namig's prayer paintings
Jewish Art of Week: Rachel Kanter‘s “God’s Aspect”

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