Religion in American Art



 

Introduction

This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Religion in American Art." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the date of publication in Resource Library.

Following the listing of Resource Library articles and essays is the heading "TFAO references." Periodically TFAO conducts keyword searches from the Resource Library homepage relating to this topic. The count of pages within Resource Library citing the keywords indicates breadth of coverage in Resource Library for this topic. We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information.

After "TFAO references" are links to online resources found outside the TFAO website. Online resources are gathered from TFAO catalogues. Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order

 

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

TFAO references

A 11/29/13 search within TFAO's digital library retrieved:

 

Also from the Web

 
Adrian Kellard: The Learned Art of Compassion from Museum of Contemporary Religious Art. Accessed 3/14.
 
After Six Years Of The 930 Art Center - Was It Worth It? is a blog post in which Michael Winters describes how his church, starting in 1996, "...facilitated hundreds of art exhibits and concerts through The 930 Art Center..." in Louisville, KY. Accessed 1/20/14.
 
American Guild of Jewish Art, based in Alpharetta GA, has as its mission "to promote awareness of fine art and craft objects created "in the Jewish spirit."  It would be the first organization to serve the interests not only of Jewish artists but of Jewish art ­ those who sell and promote it as well as it's creators." Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Avoda: Objects of the Spirit: Ceremonial art by Tobi Kahn, September 2 - October 12, 2003 from Museum of Contemporary Religious Art. Accessed 3/14.
 
The Book of Life: Family Bibles in America, October 28, 2011 - January 13, 2012 from Museum of Biblical Art, NYC. Accessed 3/14.
 
"Christian art hidden in America's dusty corners" by Marisa Martin, published 8/8/12 in WND.
 
Christians in the Visual Arts is an organization based in Wenham, MA that is devoted to religious expression in the visual arts. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Cooper-Hewitt Museum, The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Design, offered freely online as of 2013 over 25 titles highlighting the Museum's collections, published between 1978 and 1987, including Santos from Puerto Rico
 
"Early American Religious Art" by Tasha Brandstatter, Demand Media, from OpposingViews.com. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
"Easton Bible Artist" is a May 14, 2011 article by Karen Samuels, accessed on February 9, 2013 from the website of The Express-Times of Easton, PA. The article is devoted to Johannes Ernst Spangenberg (1755-1814), a Fraktur artist known as the "Easton Bible Artist." He is also referenced in Resource Library. See Pennsylvania Fraktur; essay by R. David Brocklebank and Barbara L. Jones (6/28/07)
 
Episcopal Church and Visual Arts has as its mission to "...encourage artists and organizations to engage the visual arts in the spiritual life of the church. ECVA values the significance of visual imagery in spiritual formation and the development of faith, and encourages those who are engaged in using the visual arts in spiritual life." ECVA holds curated exhibitions and maintains an online resource center. Accessed 12/9/13.
 
Expressions of Faith Art Show, featuring 75 pieces from 51 artists, was held March 1, through November 24, 2013 at the Cardinal Keeler Center of the Diocese of Harrisburg in Harrisburg, PA. Accessed 4/14.
 
Faith Artists, in Garland, TX, says that its mission is "To create visual art that glorifies GOD; To share truth in fresh ways; To promote visual arts with the body of Christ; To mainstream biblically inspired art for the ages in the world." Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Fine Arts Council of the Catholic Diocese of Austin, in Austin, TX, says "The mission of the Religious Fine Arts Council is to act as a catalyst and lead a renaissance in visual religious fine art with a focus on the Judeo-Christian faith." Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Gib Singleton: Religious Works, an exhibit held July 10 - Nov. 14, 2010 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Also see "Cowboy Michelangelo visits the Vatican - Exclusive: Marisa Martin spotlights artistic genius of Gib Singleton" published 12/26/12 in WND. Accessed 8/14.
 
The Grove Center for the Arts & Media, in San Clemente, CA, "...cultivates the spiritual life and creative work of artists." Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Go Tell It On The Mountain, an exhibit held October 4, 2012 to June 30, 2013 at the California African American Museum. Accessed May, 2014
 
Grünewald Guild in Leavenworth, WA, offers art classes and workshops. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
"The Hand And the Spirit: Religious Art in America," an exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art held February 21-April 15, 1973. "The show includes approximately 100 excellent works, mostly paintings, but some important sculpture as well..." from Indianapolis Museum of Art. Catalogue:: "The Hand and the Spirit: Religious Art in America, 1700-1900," with essay by Joshua Taylor, from UC Regents. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
InterVarsity Arts, in Chicago, IL says that "Our primary goal is to plant and grow witnessing communities in the art schools and programs of Chicago:  to see students and faculty transformed as creative disciples of Jesus, renewing their campus and changing the art world and the direction of its influence!" Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Keith Haring: Altarpiece: The Life of Christ, April 8 - May 7, 1995 from Museum of Contemporary Religious Art. Accessed 3/14.
 
League of Christian Artists, in Spooner, WI, focuses on religious art and publishes "New City Reader E-News." Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain in Niland, CA. Accessed 11/29/13. Also see Salvation Mountain in Niland, CA, from Wikipedia
 
Logos Guildworks Ministries is an interfaith community art guild founded in 2007 in Santa Fe NM. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
"Mormonism and American Religious Art," by Jane Dillenberger, is an essay in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1978), 187-200. From Brigham Young University. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Nineteenth Century German-American Church Artists by Annemarie Springer from Max Kade/SGAS. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Psalms of Nature: The Illuminated Art of Barbara Wolff, October 04, 2007 - February 17, 2008 from Museum of Biblical Art, NYC. Accessed 3/14.
 
Religion, Ritual, and Performance in Modern and Contemporary Art, an exhibit held August 28, 2012 - May 26, 2013 at Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College. Accessed 4/14.
 
Sacred Spaces: Devotional Images and Photography by Alex Harris, an exhibit held April 2008 - February, 2009 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Accessed 8/14.
 
San Diego Center for Jewish Culture in La Jolla, CA contains The Gotthelf Art Gallery which features temporary exhibitions of American art, some with religious themes. Accessed 2/25/14.
 
Sister Mary Charles: Engagement and Transcendence, an exhibit held June 3 - September 21, 2014 at Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth. Includes video, press release. Accessed June, 2014.
 
Smithsonian Institution Conservation Institute provided online as of 2013 the exhibition brochure for Santos and related reading lists
 
"Stalking the Spiritual in the Visual Arts" by David Morgan, a book review of The Visual Arts and Christianity in America: From the Colonial Period to the Present. Expanded Edition. by John Dillenberger. Crossroad, 290 pp. from religion-online.org. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
View from the Pier contains in Compass Rose section On the Santos Trail in Puerto Rico, published in four parts April and May, 2011
 
The Visual Culture of American Religions, November 10, 2000 - January 05, 2001 from Museum of Biblical Art, NYC. Accessed 3/14.
 
Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière, February 03 - May 20, 2012 from Museum of Biblical Art, NYC. Accessed 3/14.
 
The Wanderer: Foreign Landscapes of Enrique Martínez Celaya, September 30, 2010 - January 16, 2011 from Museum of Biblical Art, NYC. Accessed 3/14.
 
 

Museums, art centers and galleries focusing on religious art

Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery in Greenville, SC contains in its collections Benjamin West: The Progress of Revealed Religion.
 
Buffalo Religious Arts Center in Buffalo, NY collects and preserves fine art from closed houses of worship in Western New York.
 
Cathedral House Gallery, located at the Bishop Jones Center in San Antonio, TX, is provided by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. The gallery "showcases the excellent work of Christian artists and photographers in our diocese and region." Accessed 4/14.
 
Christ In The Smokies Museum and Gardens in Gatlinburg, TN features life-size depictions of Biblical themes.
 
ClearStory Gallery is located within Life Center Foursquare Church in Spokane, WA. Accessed 1/20/14.
 
Doug Adams Gallery, located at the Badè Museum, Center for the Arts, Religion, and Education, Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, CA, presents "...modern and contemporary art through thematic exhibitions that provide a new lens for reflecting on spirituality, belief, ritual and the sacred." Accessed 1/20/14.
 
Gallery 1055, located within the Diocesan House of the Episcopal Diocese of California in San Francisco, CA, offers temporary art exhibitions featuring American artists. Accessed 4/14.
 
Manresa Gallery in San Francisco says in its mission statement: "...juxtaposes traditional and contemporary art to highlight diverse expressions of faith. It provides a space for local and international artists to contemplate and expand spiritual practices through artistic expression and community dialogue." Accessed 4/10/14.
 
Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX has an American Art Gallery. A Web page for the Museum says that the Gallery contains "American religious paintings from renowned artists like John LaFarge, Albert Pinkham Ryder and John Singer Sargent."
 
Museum of Biblical Art in New York, NY has exhibitions featuring American religious art.
 
Museum of Church History and Art at Temple Square in Salt Lake City offers temporary exhibitions featuring religious themes as well as accompanying online exhibits.
 
Museum of Contemporary Religious Art at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO offers multi-faith exhibits, including several featuring American artists.
 
Museum of Religious Arts in Logan, IA offers permanent and rotating exhibits, including exhibits featuring American artists.
 
The National Museum of Catholic Art and Library in Washington, DC provides exhibitions of multi-faith art including American artists.
 
St. Paul's Monastery Gallery in St. Paul, MN hosts exhibits of Sacred art. Accessed 1/20/14.
 
Seeds Fine Art Exhibits, a ministry of St John's Lutheran Church in Orange, CA, organizes exhibits on Biblical art. Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Thrivent Financial Collection of Religious Art Gallery in Minneapolis, MN is a corporate art collection including American art.

 

Recurring Religious-theme exhibitions

Art for God's Sake in Troy, MI at St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church, is a "...3-day, multi-faceted exhibition includes an elegant opening-night gala, interactive art demos, and educational opportunities for all! It also showcases the non-juried artwork of well-known artists and local clergy and religious." Accessed 11/29/13.
 
Sacred Art Show and Sale is a juried exhibition held at Blessed John XXIII Diocesan Center, Lincoln, NE. Accessed 1/20/14.
 
Springville Museum of Art Annual Spiritual and Religious Art of Utah Exhibition is a decades-long tradition of the Museum featuring Utah-based artists. Multi-faith artworks in the exhibition are eligible for cash awards and are offered for sale. Workshops and discussions accompany the exhibitions.
 
Why a Spiritual Art Show? by Nicholas P. Heille describes the juried 11th Annual Northeast Minneapolis Spiritual Art Show, held at John Paul II School's Kolbe Center, "...grown to where over 9,000 visitors attend its six-day event..." The article is posted in the SPARGEX - Spiritual Art Guild Exchange website. Accessed 1/20/14.

 

Online audio

Sister Corita was aired March 03, 2007 on "Weekend America." American Public Media says "When you think about pop art and counter culture, in all likelihood, you don't immediately think of a convent in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Sister Corita Kent was a nun at the Immaculate Heart Convent in Los Angeles, as well as a teacher in the art department at the Immaculate Heart College. She was also an artist whose screen prints garnered world-wide attention. At one point she was on the cover of Newsweek. But she was also criticized by conservative Catholics, including the archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese. Sister Corita Kent left the convent at the height of her fame but continued to live a fascinating life. Weekend America host Bill Radke visits the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles to learn more about her life and see some of her work."

National Public Radio provides archives of its radio program series. An example is Black Religious Art from All Things Considered, April 13, 2001. On this Good Friday, Commentator Robert Franklin remarks on the growing role of art in African-American churches.

WNET/New York produced in its Religion & Ethics Newsweekly series The Legacy of Howard Finster on October 26, 2001. Tom Patterson, Howard Finster's biographer, provides insights into the life and career of the acclaimed artist in two audio clips: 1. "Howard Finster's ministry and his visual art career were parallel forces..."; 2. "His work came very much out of his Appalachian background..."

 

Online video

Video titled Ron DiCianni: Painting the Resurrection (04:24) features the artist discussing The Resurrection Mural, 12' x 40', oil on canvas, commissioned by the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX. Video appeared on CBN.com.

Arts and Uses: Chinese American artists Spiritual Journey, (01:09) "'Routes' is a documentary series about the spiritual odyssey of 12 well-established Chinese American visual artists: Cui Fei, Ho Sin-ying, Hu Bing, Lin Yan, Ma Xinle, Shen Ruijun, Song Xin, Tan Liqin, Wei Jia, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang O, and Zheng Lianjie." from PlaidBagMedia.com. Accessed 11/29/13.

 

DVD or VHS videos

Divining the Human: The Cathedral Tapestries of John Nava is a 2003 feature-length television documentary in DVD format, directed by David Tlapek, produced by Brookwood Enterprises and narrated by Edward James Olmos, that follows the creation of tapestries by artist John Nava for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, in Los Angeles, CA.

Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz (13-minute DVD or CD) is a documentary film that includes the interview with Esther Nisenthal Available through Art & Remembrance, which says: "In 1998, acclaimed filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan spent three days interviewing Esther Nisenthal Krinitz and family, with her art work as a focal point. In this beautiful 13-minute documentary film, Kasdan has distilled Esther's story and art into into a poignant memory of survival." (left: front box cover of Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz)

Minerva Teichert: A Mission In Paint is a 46 minute video documentary produced and directed by Nicholas J. Gasdik and written by Tim Slover on the art and life of Minerva Teichert. See this page from LDSFilm.com for more information.

Visiting...With Huell Howser #1005 - MOSAICS is a 28 minute 2002 video by Huell Howser Productions, which says on its website: "You've seen his work all across the Southland. Meet Denis O'Connor master mosaic artist, who has created some of the largest and most amazing mosaics in America." In this video, Denis O'Connor creates a large glass mosaic mural for St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island, in Newport Brach, CA. Huell follows the creation of the mural in O'Conner's two studios through to its installation in the chapel.

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format.

 

Books

Art, Belief, Meaning: The Visual Arts and the Restored Gospel : Papers Presented at the First Annual Art, Belief, Meaning Seminar for Faculty and Students, November 20, December 4, and December 11, 1998, by Christian F. Sorenson. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, College of Fine Arts and Communications, 1998 - 76 pages

Art and Popular Religion in Evangelical America, 1915-1940, by Robert L. Gambone. Published in 1989 by University of Tennessee Press.

Benjamin West: The Context of His Life's Work with Particular Attention to Paintings with Religious Subject Matter, by John Dillenberger. Published in 1977 by Trinity University Press.

Crossroads: Art and Religion in American Life, Published in 2001 by The New Press. Amazon.com reviewer Michael Joseph Gross says "...Crossroads is a valuable contribution to America's ongoing project of navigating the complex relationship between its aesthetic and spiritual ideals..." with "... insightful anthology of seven essays by prominent artists, art historians, and religious scholars."

Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman, By David Morgan. Published 1996 by Yale University Press. 246 pages. ISBN:0300063423. Google Books says: "This fascinating book focuses on the production, marketing, and reception of one such set of religious illustrations, the art of Warner Sallman (1892-1968), whose '1940 Head Of Christ' has been reproduced an estimated five hundred million times." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (left: front cover, Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman, image courtesy Google Books)

Images of Faith: Art of the Latter-Day Saints, by Richard G. Oman and Robert O. Davis, Publisher: Deseret Book Co. (September 1995), 202 pages. Includes images of artworks in the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City, UT.

Jewish-American Artists and the Holocaust, by Mathew Baigell. Published by Rutgers University Press in 1997.

Jewish Art in America: An Introduction, By Matthew Baigell. Published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2007, 253 pages

Jewish Artists and the Bible in Twentieth-Century America, By Samantha Baskind, Publish Date Expected 2/7/2014, Pennsylvania State University Press, 264 pages, Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-05983-9

The Landscape of Belief: Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth-Century American Art and Culture, by John Davis. Published by Princeton University Press in 1998. Google Books says: "This book tells of the nineteenth-century American painters who, along with photographers, archaeologists, writers, evangelists, and tourists, flocked to the biblical Holy Land, a world of striking landscape vistas that reflected, in their eyes, a powerful image of the United States..."

Painting Religion in Public: John Singer Sargent's Triumph of Religion at the Boston Public Library, by Sally M. Promey. Published by Princeton University Press in 2001.

The Religious Art of Andy Warhol, By Jane Dillenberger, Andy Warhol. Published 1998 by Continuum International Publishing Group.128 pages. ISBN:082641334X. Google Books says: "An examination of the spiritual side of Warhol looks at his art during his final years, which includes paintings based on Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," and Warhol's "Skull" and "Cross" paintings." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: front cover, The Religious Art of Andy Warhol, image courtesy Google Books)

Religious Folk Art in America: Reflections of Faith, by C. Kurt Dewhurst, Betty MacDowell, Marsha MacDowell. Published by E.P. Dutton in association with the Museum of American Folk Art, in 1983.

Seeing the Unseen, by Marianne Lettieri, Founding Director of Arts of the Covenant in Menlo Park, CA, to be published by Christians in the Visual Arts. According to Fr. Jim Blaettler, SJ., Director of Manresa Gallery, Seeing the Unseen will provide a guide for those interested in launching and managing a church-based art gallery.

Seven Visions: The Spirit of Religion in Contemporary Regional Art, by Arnot Art Museum -1991

Signs of Grace: Religion and American Art in the Gilded Age, by Kristin Schwain. Published in 2007 by Cornell University Press. On the back cover, Leigh Eric Schmidt of Princeton University says: "Signs of Grace offers a revealing window on the way in which the visual arts were given a distinct religious bearing in late Victorian America-one that accentuated momentary experiences of spiritual and aesthetic illumination. In this rich and sumptuous book, Kristin Schwain has done an excellent job of analyzing these forms of spiritualized visuality through the works of Thomas Eakins, Henry Ossawa Tanner, F. Holland Day, and Abbott Handerson Thayer." (left: front cover, Signs of Grace: Religion and American Art in the Gilded Age, image courtesy Google Books)

Saved by Beauty: Sister Mary Charles McGough, OSB, published by St. Scholastica Monastery, 2014. 108 pages.

The Spirit and the Vision: The Influence of Christian Romanticism on the Development of 19th-century American Art, by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona. Published by Scholars Press, in 1995.

Transforming Images: New Mexican Santos In-between Worlds, by Claire J. Farago, Donna Pierce. Published by Pennsylvania State University Press in 2006.

The Visual Arts and Christianity in America: From the Colonial Period to the Present, by John Dillenberger. Published in 1984 by Scholars Press (Chico, Calif). Book Review: "Stalking the Spiritual in the Visual Arts" by David Morgan.

The Visual Culture of American Religions, by David Morgan, Sally M. Promey. Published by University of California Press in 2001.

A Google Book Search conducted February 12, 2011 located 307 books featuring the search phrase "American Religious Art. Forty five books featured Limited Preview.

 

Journals and Magazines

ARTS Magazine is published by United and the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, New Brighton, MN

Image Journal focuses on the contribution of religious art in America

Imaginatio et Ratio: A Journal of Theology and the Arts is "a peer reviewed journal primarily focusing on the intersection between the arts and theology, hoping to allow imagination and reason to be seen as intimately intertwined-as different expressions of the same divine truth."

Ruminate Magazine "...is a quarterly magazine of short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art that resonate with the complexity and truth of the Christian faith."

 

Articles in paper-printed journals and magazines

Julianne Burton-Carvajal and Scott Shields, "The Carmel Mission in Art" American Art Review, January-February 2008 (Volume XX, Number 1

Gail E. Husch, "The Landscape of Belief: Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth-Century American Art and Culture," (book review)  Sept, 1997 from The Art Bulletin (Link found expired as of 7/24/09 audit. Source site may contain this content via a revised URL)

 

Notes:

In 2014 TFAO published an article titled "Options for Art Exhibit Programs by Religious Institutions," by J. Philip Christensen. The article is intended to provide information to organizations considering establishing an art exhibit program within their campus.

To date, TFAO has not been able to locate significant information on American art derived from faith communities other than that for Judeo-Christian topics and information from Middle East Influences in American Art. Readers and institutions with links and materials derived from other faith communities to share with TFAO will be appreciated.

TFAO extends thanks to Fr. Jim Blaettler, SJ and Chet Murray for suggesting information for this topic and to Gayle Larkin, an artist in San Juan Capistrano, CA, for providing a reference in the above list.

 

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