United Brethren has retired.

JW "art"

Go on laugh.

I know what you're thinking: those J-Dub's and their scary apocalyptic artwork. With an aesthetic like this, how could anyone take the Watchtower seriously?

But a word of caution to you smug, snarky Mormons:

Will you look so bright-eyed when our cities burn and lightening fries the wicked?

Is yours a gospel for all God's children, or just those with Mormon Face?

Is your art any better?

Who's growing faster?

Do your magazines feature articles on the Hanbok, Korea's national dress, with nary a faith promoting rumour in sight?

Seems like the Ensign could do with fewer Rembrandt etchings and hire a JW artist instead.

(HT: Dave for the website. AWEsome.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 24, 2005 3:56 PM) 

Actually, I think the church art or Ensign illustrations are beginning to resemble JW stuff- Always multicultural, families, people always sharing scriptures or happily reading the literature... 

Posted by Ben S.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 24, 2005 4:40 PM) 

I agree with Ben. Also, with regards to your comment that Seems like the Ensign could do with fewer Rembrandt etchings and hire a JW artist instead , I very much doubt the value of this suggestion. The Bloggernacle abounds in criticism of the Ensign (far too much to link here), but this suggestion is far from productive to produce a better Ensign. Of course, I realize you were likely joking, but I personally would prefer to see more Rembrandt etchings and other real art than JW-esque art in our Church magazines. And the implied link between JW art and their growth rates seems rather strained. . . . 

Posted by Anonymous


Blogger john f. said ... (September 24, 2005 4:41 PM) 

(Sorry, I posted that last comment.)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 24, 2005 5:31 PM) 

Judging by their art, it looks like JW's plan to do a lot of gardening. I'm not saying I wouldn't mind a little time to work the earth, but is that all there is to look forward to? 

Posted by Jared


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 24, 2005 5:39 PM) 


I never joke. Ever. I'm seriously thinking of joining the JWs. I've had it with Mormon anti-intellectualism. I hear the JWs are very open to science and biblical criticism. If Joseph were alive he'd say, "Scratch the Luther translation, the JW Bible is the best one." 

Posted by Ronan


Blogger Ronan said ... (September 24, 2005 5:40 PM) 

(Of course I love this month's Ensign Rembrandt etchings.)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 24, 2005 7:54 PM) 

Is our art any better? Well, you kind of scooped me. So we'll just let the content spill...

I wasn't in the 80's, that is for sure . What were we thinking? 

Posted by J. Stapley


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 24, 2005 8:10 PM) 

Yes, of course, it seems obvious that you were joking! Sorry. 

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 25, 2005 1:28 PM) 

They look so happy! "Hurray! I'm alive while all those wicked yutzes in that building behind me are being melted!" I suspect that might not have been the primary message they were going for though...

I can say that the grinning woman and two girls in front actually do look related -- the teeth look familial. Do you think the artist paints these based on pictures of real people?


Posted by Geoff J


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 25, 2005 3:41 PM) 

Yeah, the three people in the front are definitely related.

Thanks to Stapley for providing more material for my nightmares. I think LDS art is just as bad, but in a different way.JW art is usually lurid with super-saturated colors. Mormon art is usually saccharinely sweet and pastel-colored. 

Posted by NFlanders


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 25, 2005 3:45 PM) 

Stapley: that's an abomination.

Johnson: nice. Are you a JW art critic, perchance?

Flanders: come on. Mormon art is not consistently  as awful as this.

I suspect that anyone who served in Europe had many run-ins with the Witnesses. What about Asia or South America?  

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 25, 2005 3:49 PM) 

The models are probably members of the 144,000 club. Indeed that's one of the honours accorded them: you get your portrait done. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 26, 2005 1:34 AM) 

I think the Witnesses, if anything, are more active in South America than Europe. One day on my mission (in South America) I was home at my apartment sick, and I got visited by the JWs. They were actually very nice. I can't count how many times we got the Witness literature while we tracted.

Ronan, while not all Mormon art is as awful as Stapley's examples, it ain't good. When Friberg's body-builders are the best, you know you're in trouble. Usually it's some gauzy montage of pioneers and seagulls flapping in the wind. JW art reminds me more of comic books style. 

Posted by NFlanders


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 26, 2005 10:03 AM) 

NFlanders, do you have a view on Minerva Teichert? 

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 26, 2005 12:50 PM) 

I personally don't like most church art. But I DO like Minerva Teichert. I'd love to have a picture of Christ prominently displayed, but haven't found one yet I really like. I did find a statue though - Michelangelo's The Pieta  

Posted by Rebecca


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 30, 2005 1:07 PM) 

A painting of the crucified Christ was prominently displayed in the Dresden chapel throughout the period where it was behind the Iron Curtain. I always really liked that fact, for some reason.

I need to figure out which painting that was again. 

Posted by john fowles


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