Concerning the Spiritual in 20th C Art and Science

Published: An edited version of this paper was published in Leonardo, Vol. 31, No.1, pp21-31, 1998, ISSN 0024-094X

A recent proliferation of writings on the spiritual by scientists suggests that this may be an appropriate time to re-evaluate the spiritual in twentieth-century art. This paper looks at three artistic groupings: Kandinsky and the Bauhaus, the American Abstract Expressionists, and the contemporary electronic arts, and traces the influences of some spiritual movements on them. The paper then turns to spiritual in modern science, observing that quantum theory has been the main starting point for many physicists to write about God. The question is examined as to whether science at this juncture is more receptive to the spiritual than the arts; whether art can mediate between science and the spiritual, and whether the spiritual is antecedent to both arts and science.

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