1st Edition

Religion and Contemporary Art A Curious Accord

Edited By Ronald R. Bernier, Rachel Hostetter Smith Copyright 2023
    474 Pages 75 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    474 Pages 75 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    474 Pages 75 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Religion and Contemporary Art sets the theoretical frameworks and interpretive strategies for exploring the re-emergence of religion in the making, exhibiting, and discussion of contemporary art. Featuring essays from both established and emerging scholars, critics, and artists, the book reflects on what might be termed an "accord" between contemporary art and religion.

    It explores the common strategies contemporary artists employ in the interface between religion and contemporary art practice. It also includes case studies to provide more in-depth treatments of specific artists grappling with themes such as ritual, abstraction, mythology, the body, popular culture, science, liturgy, and social justice, among other themes.

    It is a must-read resource for working artists, critics, and scholars in this field, and an invitation to new voices "curious" about its promises and possibilities.


    Ronald R. Bernier and Rachel Hostetter Smith

    Part I: Theoretical and Interpretative Frameworks

    1. The New Visibility of Religion in Contemporary Art: Four Interpretive Horizons

    Jonathan A. Anderson

    2. Exploring Theological Dimensions of the Work of Art

    Linda Stratford

    3. Translating Religion: Contemporary Art Through a Postsecular Lens

    Lieke Wijnia

    4. The Question of Criticism: What to Do with Our Revelations?

    Jeffrey L. Kosky

    5. Curating Faith: Art, Religion, and the Curatorial

    Daniel A. Siedell

    6. A Loving Regard: Contemporary Art and Expanding the Archive

    Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt

    7. Exhibition as Pilgrimage: Visual Strategies for Interfaith Dialogue

    Aaron Rosen

    Part II: Artistic Strategies

    8. Iconic: Contemporary Portraiture and Sacred Personhood

    Katie Kresser

    9. Relic-ing Now: Reliquary Strategies of Materiality and Memory in Contemporary Art

    Cynthia Hahn

    10. Contemporary Art as Pilgrimage Site: Ambrosio’s As Far as the Eye Can Travel Zine

    Kathryn Barush

    11. Rogue Priests: Ritual, Sacrament, and Witness in Contemporary Art

    Rachel Hostetter Smith

    12. Walking Naked and Barefoot: When Ancient Jewish Prophets Meet Avant-Garde Performance Artists

    Wayne L. Roosa

    13. Revisiting "Art in the Dark": Thomas McEvilley, Performance Art, and the End(s) of Shamanism

    Karen Gonzalez Rice

    14. Infused with Light: Christian Traces in Multimedia Installation Art

    Jorge Sebastián Lozano

    15. Bill Viola, the Icon, and the Apophatic Sublime

    Ronald R. Bernier

    Part III: Case Studies of Artists and Artworks

    16. The Lived Religion of Andy Warhol

    Stephen Bush

    17. "A King Aesthetic?": Tim Rollins and K.O.S. and the Ethos of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    James Romaine

    18. From the Wounds Grace: John August Swanson and the Theological Aesth/Ethics of Liberation

    Cecilia González-Andrieu

    19. Cities of Light: Phillip K. Smith III and the Light & Space Movement

    Matthew J. Milliner

    20. Performativity and the Flesh: The Economy of the Icon in Lia Chavez’s Light Body

    Julie M. Hamilton

    21. Theaster Gates and the Good Use of Forgotten Things

    Donato Loia

    22. On Preaching, Performance Art, and Television: Christian Jankowski’s The Holy Artwork

    Isabelle Loring Wallace

    23. Tools of the Apocalypse: Eschatology in Contemporary Jewish and Catholic Art

    Ben Schachter

    24. Back to the Garden – Utopia and Paradise in the work of Jim Shaw, Liza Lou, Shirin Neshat, and Shoja Azari

    Eleanor Heartney

    25. Deep Waters: Art and the Revival of Religion in Contemporary China

    Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky

    26. Salvation in the Fallen World: On Meng Yan’s Recent Monumental Works

    Changping Zha

    27. Chrysanne Stathacos and Charwei Tsai: The Mandala

    Haema Sivanesa

    28. Performing Memory and Mourning: Diane Victor’s Martyred Women

    Karen von Veh

    29. Weaving Land and Water: On the Poetics of Diasporic and Indigenous Resistance

    Yohana Agra Junker

    30. Al Buraq: Explorations of Liminality in Contemporary Islamic Art

    Sascha Crasnow

    Afterword: A Colloquy with Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, James Elkins, Ben Quash, and S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate.

    Contributors: Biographical Notes




    Ronald R. Bernier is Professor of Humanities at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. His books include The Unspeakable Art of Bill Viola (2014), Beyond Belief (2010), and Monument, Moment, and Memory: Monet’s Cathedral in Fin-de-Siècle France (2007). His research interests are modern and contemporary art and religious studies.

    Rachel Hostetter Smith is Gilkison Distinguished Professor of Art History at Taylor University. She publishes widely on aspects of religion and the arts, including two edited volumes of Religion and the Arts and several exhibition catalogues, and has developed numerous international, intercultural art projects and traveling exhibitions, most recently Matter + Spirit: A Chinese/American Exhibition.

    "This remarkable volume invites into conversation an impressive assembly of interlocutors and an impressively diverse set of approaches to a still-mystifyingly understudied subject. Religion and Contemporary Art: A Curious Accord represents a signal contribution that brings into creative relation its two key terms to demonstrate how they are not simply manifest in adjacency but often also inextricably fused. Highly recommended to scholars in art and/or religion as to artists in all media!"

    Sally M. Promey, Yale University, USA