Thursday, 24 May 2012

Trusttees decide against Skyspace

I am deeply concerned that BYM trustees have decided to reject the installation of a James Turrell Skyspace as part of the Friends House, London, refurbishment.
Why are trustees making such a decision? - this is surely a matter for the whole of BYM, and I hope that it will be revisited this weekend at Yearly Meeting 2012. Trustees should be concerned with the management of our affairs, not with matters of deep spirituality. The reasons given in the minute are indeed pedestrian and managerial, and I fear for our future if these sorts of criteria are going to become the norm. Anyone with any sensibility who has visited and experienced a Skyspace should know that the light is from within - it is an utterly immersive experience, removing all boundaries of in and out.
As for the other criteria cited: read the Gospel of John, Chapter 12
Are our trustees about to betray us?


Craig Barnett said...

Gordon - 'Betray' is a strong word, Friend, and I would not wish to use it to describe the actions of anyone who is acting in good faith. I am, however, also disappointed that the offer of this artwork has been declined by Trustees. I can see that several of the reasons given are valid enough their own terms (apart from the rather strange assertion of 'our concept of the Light being from within'. The original language of this metaphor for early Friends was the 'Inward' Light - which clearly implies that it shines into us from somewhere else.)
It still seems to me a missed opportunity to incorporate beauty and wonder into the expression of our identity, which is perhaps something that Friends with their Trustee hats on are lesss likely to consider.
The more significant issue for me is that Trustees now have the power and the responsibility to make this decision (and all decisions about the use of BYM resources), without the approval of our representatives in Meeting for Sufferings or of Yearly Meeting. I was at the YM session where this decision was reported on by the clerk of Trustees, and there was no opportunity to reverse it.

Laura Kerr said...

After this subject coming up at our area meeting today, ive checked out the full minute of trustees, when they made that decsion. It's well worth reading, to get the full background. My first, gut reaction, is now rather different after reading the reasoning behind the decision. Its a thorough minute recognising that any/either decision would be controversial and provocative.