Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art


The inaugural exhibition of the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary religious art.

Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art at MOCRA, 1993

Photo by Cheryl Ungar.

Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art

    Part One
    February 14 - April 11, 1993
   
free public opening reception    Sunday, February 14, 1993   2:00 - 5:00 p.m. 

Participating artists:
Seyed Alavi
Lita Albuquerque
Craig Antrim
Frederick J. Brown
Nick Boskovich
Michael David
Stephen De Staebler
Eleanor Dickinson
Donald Grant
Steven Heilmer
Tobi Kahn
Frank LaPeña
 
Charlotte Lichtblau
 Stephen Luecking
Bernard Maisner
Ann McCoy
Jim Morphesis
James Rosen

Susan Schwalb
Daniel Smajo-Ramirez
Kazuaki Tanahashi
Michael Tracy
Brian Tripp
 

    Part Two: Three Major Installations
    April 18 - June 27, 1993
    exhibition extended through August 29, 1993
   
free public opening reception with the featured artists    Sunday, April 25, 1993   2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Featured artists:
Paul Kos
Thomas Skomski Michael Tracy   
Other participating artists:
Seyed Alavi
Lita Albuquerque
Craig Antrim
Eleanor Dickinson

Donald Grant
Steven Heilmer
Tobi Kahn
  
 Frank LaPeña
Stephen Luecking

Jim Morphesis

James Rosen
Susan Schwalb
Brian Tripp
 
 
The Artist and Sacred Space

A symposium held in conjunction with the Fall 1992 meeting of
The Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture (ARC)
and celebrating the birth of the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

Saturday, November 7, 1992    9:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.

     click here for more information
 
Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art at MOCRA, 1993

Photo by Cheryl Ungar.


Ann McCoy, Altar I, 1989

Ann McCoy, Altar I (detail), 1989.
Cast bronze and lead over wood.
Photo by Cheryl Ungar.

 
MOCRA’s inaugural exhibition features more than 100 works from an wide-ranging roster of artists working in styles ranging from traditional Western figuration to minimalist and geometric abstraction. MOCRA’s Founding Director, Terrence Dempsey, S.J., notes that

Sanctuaries offers an overview of a movement that gained momentum in the 1980s and has grown in strength in the early 1990s. A generation of artists have begun to renew their interest in the religious and spiritual dimensions of art, and within the last dozen years or so they have achieved recognition in the mainstream art world for the spiritual concerns which form the substance of their work.

The artists, generally in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, tend to be disillusioned with the celebrity mentality prevalent in the art world today, and in response are seeking the “spiritual.” Their faith or religious practices are not always particularly orthodox, and in fact many draw from various beliefs and philosophies. While pervasive, the movement is not organized, and for the artists the pursuit is risky, personally and professionally. Fr. Dempsey reflects,

For some of them, having faith is tough. They have to struggle. These are not commissioned works-they are the work of an artist pursuing personal vision or questions. … These artists have often been met with indifference and sometimes suspicion by religious and cultural institutions. Yet they have pursed this exploration even when it was financially unwise. They have done so because they perceived something was in danger of being lost: a sense of mystery, ritual, tradition--a sense that a major dimension of being human was being ignored.

The title Recovering the Holy in part alludes to the rediscovery by many contemporary artists of the power of art with a spiritual dimension to engage the viewer affectively. Their art is compelling precisely because of the struggle.

 

Sanctuaries: Recovering the Holy in Contemporary Art at MOCRA, 1993

From left: Paul Kos, Chartres Bleu, 1983-86. Thomas Skomski, Pietà, 1992. Photo by Dan Cheryl Ungar.



Additional information

Sanctuaries in the media [COMING SOON]

Browse a photo essay of Sanctuaries in the Spring 1993 issue of Universitas magazine.

Read a reflection on Sanctuaries on the MOCRA blog.

Read about the genesis of MOCRA on the MOCRA blog.

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