Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Exploring ‘Sacred Spaces’

For the coming six weeks, the Museum of Biblical Art offers an exhibition with a concurrent three-part lecture series exploring what it collectively calls “Sacred Spaces.”

Presently underway (closes January 24, 2010) at MOBIA is artist Tobi Kahn’s exhibit titled “Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century.” The museum’s website explains:

Kahn’s images are, first and foremost, metaphors; the symbolism of his art is not about any one specific religion but about spiritual engagement. Since his art feels equally at home in the liturgy, in the public forum, and in museums, it has special significance for individuals and institutions – like MOBIA – who seek to understand the relationship between art, religion, and ritual.

Most of MOBIA’s educational programming through January concerns this same topic. The trilogy of lectures consists of (again, from the website):

Function, Symbol, Access: Sacred Spaces through History
December 17 - 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

What do an ancient synagogue, an Italian medieval church, a private chapel in a Renaissance palace, and a 21st century interfaith meditation room have in common? This lecture will discuss them within an investigation of how sacred spaces have been defined and used through the centuries. Dr. Ena G. Heller is the Executive Director of MOBIA and curator of the exhibition.

Lectures are free and include the price of admission.

Crafting Ceremonial Objects with Tobi Kahn:
A Workshop for Adults

December 20 - 1 to 3 p.m.

Hand-crafted ceremonial objects and their place in constructed sacred spaces are central to Tobi Kahn’s work. In this workshop, participants will create a ceremonial object that combines symbolism, functionality, and artistic flair! Objects will be constructed from found materials and an item of personal significance that participants bring to the workshop (we will photocopy the original item keeping it intact). This program is led by the artist and will include a guided tour of the exhibition. Admission is $5.

Faith, Spirituality, and Sacred Spaces in Contemporary Art
January 14, 2010 - 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Third in the MOBIA lecture series on sacred space, Dr. Klaus Ottmann will present a contemporary perspective on the creation of sacred space in art. Works to be discussed include The Rothko Chapel in Houston by American Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko and the Air Architecture of French conceptual artist Yves Klein.

Dr. Ottmann is the Robert Lehman Curator at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, and an independent scholar and writer.

Lectures are free and include the price of admission.

Artist Kahn has a book accompanying his exhibit. “Sacred Spaces for the 21st Century” captures 28 of his works, including that for Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun in Milwaukee.

Each work is matched with a Meditation by novelist and poet Nessa Rapoport.

MOBIA does not say the third lecture will be the final lecture. Perhaps it will revisit this subject again.

The Museum of Biblical Art is located at 1865 Broadway (at 61st Street) in Manhattan. Click here for directions and hours of operation.

The Magpie Mason will attend the December 17 and January 14 lectures. Hope to see you there!

Photos courtesy of Museum of Biblical Art.

No comments: