Monday, March 5, 2012

Anglican Stations

Ninth Station
Rev. Thomas Faulkner was the chief Red Cross officer for chaplains at the 'Ground Zero' morgue, World Trade Center, New York City. He is a priest in a suburb near Manhattan (NYC) now. He is a photographer, and artist, specialising in conceptual sculpture, the kind i often ridicule. Think of Marcel Duchamp's bicycle wheel mounted on a stool.

Now, the Anglicans are 'broad' in spirituality. Most of their churches [i suspect] would not have the Stations of the Cross as part of their sacred art, many that do, would have the simplest indication (such as the numerals). The traditional number has come to be fourteen. Faulkner has created fourteen portable stations. He mixes varied objects, with some serious photographs. Faulkner debuted these in 2003 at Minneapolis. They have visited some Episcopalian churches around the nation during Lent.

He uses regular titles (Station Three – Jesus Falls The First Time), but without an explanatory description, virtually all the stations would be indecipherable, and random, collections of objects. Now, 'modern art' has been visiting the Via Dolorosa. Barnett Newman, a Jewish, color field, abstract expressionist did a set. The canvases were oblong backgrounds of a solid color, with occasional vertical stripes (he named 'zips'). It is remarkable how many are bamboozled, often by themselves, to consider these to be profound achievements. Faulkner's metaphorical explanations make some of the stations serious, and thought provoking, and spiritually accessible and meaningful, especially the photographs.

Now, the placement is interesting. Stations seven to fourteen are inside the church, about the perimeter of the congregation seating. Eleven and ten are reversed. When entering from the parking lot, into the lobby, one is confronted with a bunch of televisions about a small legal court, beneath an iron and a scorched cloth. The iron looks to be a mitre. The second station is on the second floor. Three to six lead to the church. The cathedral's interior is beautiful, and the surroundings of the stone walls, and tile floors add to the stations.

An earlier presentation is available on the 'web', and one can compare the differences in it and the present installation at the Anglican/Episcopal Cathedral, Trinity, in Cleveland, Ohio. The greatest, visual difference is in the tenth station; once there was a photograph of the graves at Custer's Last Stand, here there are egg cartons. One can figure out the change in symbolism.

I would conjecture, that the biggest difference is the paper change in the Ninth. This is one that needs explaining. The old school girl shoes and white hose, remind me of the dead witch under Dorothy's house. Faulkner has it completely different; it is a topless saloon visited by one of Osama bin Laden's suicide plane hijackers. Now, the paper in Cleveland is its daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer. The original paper, were pages from the Koran. I would like to know the evolution, and rationale of the change. The original idea was greater by far. Was it too provocative?

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