Qu4rtets: artwork by Mako Fujimura, Bruce Herman, and others, inspired by T. S. Eliot

We want to tell you about
one new book, happily and a bit urgently – we are one of the very few bookstores in the country to
stock this and we couldn’t be more confident that it will be an exceptional
gift for some of our friends and fans. This is very new, and we just got our shipment a few days ago. You ought to consider ordering it right away – it is a beautifully designed art book, a brilliant idea, precious and good for anyone. What a find!

Qu4rtets  $35.00 
paperback, 102 pages

YQU4RTETS.jpegou surely know the famous poem by T.S. Eliot called “Four Quartets“, a very important work in
the canon of American poetry, by one of the important voices of faith in the
modern world.  In this new coffee-table sized,
paperback gift book, a handful of contemporary artists and critics ruminate on the
Eliot piece and offer art, words, and music inspired by and in response to
this epic work.  Is this a great idea, or
what?  Why didn’t somebody think of this
sooner?  We had heard that this was in the works — it was encouraged by CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) and IAM (International Arts Movement) and the Fujimura Institute, and we are thrilled it is finally out. Kudos to those who offered patronage, Walter & Darlene Hansen, Stephen & Denise Adams, Howard & Roberta Ahmanson and John & Jean Kingston, amongst others. 

Renowned Japanese-American
artist Makoto Fujimura and Gordon College professor1mako.jpg and painter Bruce
Herman each contribute stunning original work for this book and classical musician
Christopher Theofanidis offers a new musical composition, about which he
writes. These pieces alone make this a
one of a kind example of contemporary, profoundly Christian, illuminating art, illustrating ways in which evangelicals, especially, have deepened their
commitments to cultural engagement in recent decades.  And it is so very interesting. There is a middle section, too,
where the glossyBruceHerman2.jpg paper folds out into a larger spread-sheet, showing the progression
of a few key pieces.  As you might guess, there are golds and yellows and hues of transcendence, developed by these stunning art workers. Qu4rtets is a project and artifact in which to rejoice, and with which to sit, to gaze and ponder.

Added to the vivid,
abstract and imaginative art and ruminations on it by the artists and composer, there1theo.jpg is an
astute and glorious introduction by Image magazine editor, Gregory Wolfe.  Wolfe is always worth reading and even with the economy of words demanded by a preface, he offers much, here.

Further, there are three very significant essays (also enhanced with lovely type and smaller
art pieces throughout.)  Matthew Milliner, James
McCullough, and Jeremy Begbie are the authors who add their critical
reflections, celebrating and exploring not only the original work of Elliot
but of these recent works done in response to him.  What
a joy to see them reflecting on Eliot and Herman, Eliot and Mako.  What a
grand, collaborative effort this all is and what a grand gift that results.  Qu4rtets is simply magnificent.

Here is a description of the project from their own website:

Four Quartets is relevant to our own cultural moment because of its
powerful testimony to the grace and vision of the Gospel message in a
multicultural milieu. In Eliot’s vision all hinges upon the “still
point” where the human experience of time evokes wonder, fear and
longing for continuance and redemption, and where Christ’s presence is
the pivotal point for the entire Creation. Herman and Fujimura have made
a substantive response in painting, not so much illustrating Eliot’s
work or making direct allusion to passages in the poem as attempting to
find, in Eliot’s words, the “objective correlative,” between the poet’s
themes and their own works. Christopher Theofanidis has produced a
compelling score that evokes the brooding and brilliant light of Eliot’s
poem. In effect, the painters and composer are collaborating in
intentional dialogue with the poem, revealing the staying power of its
genius and its self-declared reliance on the Christian literary and
theological tradition. 

TJeremyBegbie4.jpghese seven contributors are true culture-makers, indeed, they are culture leaders, and to
have this handsome example of their work is a gift to behold, and it is a contribution from which we can learn. Of course we recommend it to the bookish and literate, the culturally engaged, those with a love for poetry and paint, for criticism and culture. But also for those who ought to know a bit about the contemporary world in which we live, the influences and impact of the art of our time, the joys and the sorrows, exposed by Mr. Eliot and by the faithful artists who use their imagination and insight to underscore and extrapolate.                                                                              1tsspring_lrg.jpg

The attractive paperback book was
designed to accompany a touring show of this work which will appear throughout
2013 starting at Baylor University (where it on display currently), moving to Duke University, Yale University, and Gordon
College.  One could hardly
imagine a better idea for a book and we are truly thrilled to end the year on
this high note of book recommending.  Buy
this now, maybe one for your own use, and one for a gift.  Kudos to all involved. We thank them for allowing us the privilege of stocking it, and we thank you for supporting our work as a bookseller who finds these sorts of treasures, and passes the invitation on to you.  All if this makes us very glad — glad for artists, for special independent book projects, for willing authors, and generous patrons, book buyers, of course, supporters.  Thanks for reading BookNotes, for caring about this kind of thing, for allowing us to tell you about new books.  

                  from Qu4rtets “Spring/Earth/Childhood” (Bruce Herman)


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