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Pursuing the Spirit in Contemporary Art: A Celebration of Terrence Dempsey, S.J.

Release date: May 28, 2020

MOCRA Founding Director Terrence Dempsey, S.J., retired from Saint Louis University in 2019 after nearly three decades of teaching and museum leadership. Fr. Dempsey has been known to joke that he may be the only person ever to turn his dissertation into a museum. It’s a distinction, to be sure, but hardly the only one that marks a long, creative, and productive career in art and education.

On November 10, 2019, MOCRA celebrated Fr. Dempsey with a program that surveyed his long career. His successor as Director, David Brinker, focused on certain key qualities that will continue to guide MOCRA in the years to come: breadth of scope in artists, subjects, and perspectives; a deep respect for artists and visitors; an emphasis on education; an openness to collaboration; and at the core of it all, compassion as the perennial touchstone. Friends and collaborators from across the years also contributed their reminiscences and plaudits.

The program featured special guest Dr. Aaron Rosen with a talk titled “Brushes with Faith: Encounters in Contemporary Art.” You can watch his talk here.

Related Exhibition



This program was made possible with support from the Art History Program of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Saint Louis University, and a generous private donor.

Producer: David Brinker
Videography and editing: Matt Peterson