In an interview for this issue’s “In the Studio” feature, artist Shahpour Pouyan perfectly captures the central contradiction of religion: “Belief is the most dangerous thing. And it is also the most precious thing we have as humans.
The power shared by the artists featured in this issue lies in their ability to bring religious imagery and allusions into the present. Francesca Tarocco cites Lu Yang as an artist who has successfully transmuted the realms of reincarnation, stages of enlightenment, and levels of existence of Buddhism into the world of video games. Monica Uszerowicz describes how a piece resulting from a collaboration between Chire “VantaBlack” Regans and Loni Johnson uses ancestor altars infused with West African Yoruban symbolism in an effort to mourn contemporary victims of gun violence.
Alina Perez, an artist who introduces powerful Christian imagery into her works, notes during a panel discussion in this issue that images of this type have historically had the power to make people “see and believe, which is scary, but it ‘is also very inspiring to think’. that you could perhaps create images that will have a place in the future. Perez said that, in his special spread included in this issue, the posture of the figure holding a glowing swarm of writhing baby alligators is similar to those depicted on Catholic prayer cards.
In line with Shahpour Pouyan’s observation that “belief is the most dangerous thing,” one might reflect on what horrors in world history have resulted from belief, and how many of these horrors have resulted from Christian colonization. During the same panel discussion on Christian imagery, artist Frieda Toranzo Jaeger says that as someone from a shamanic and indigenous background, she has “always been terrified of Christianity, because of the way many of its values are rooted in society.” However, when it comes to painting, Toranzo Jaeger says that “revisiting and reusing history is, for me, a fundamental practice of decolonization.” She continues: “I give myself the freedom to revisit stories that do not correspond to my background, particularly those from the European Middle Ages. »
Indeed, one of the ways in which religion can prove valuable to us as humans is as a tool for artists to heal the ills of the past and to imagine – and shape – what which is to come.
—Sarah Douglas, editor-in-chief
Jewish Museum curator Liz Munsell tells us what she thinks.
EXCHANGE: LAND IS AN ARTIFACT
by Asad Raza with Emanuele Coccia
An artist and an ecological philosopher discuss the dynamic relationship between nature and culture.
HARD TRUTHS: NOBILITY ZINE
by Chen & Lampert
Advice columnists Howie Chen and Andrew Lampert address the frustrations of art book fairs and nonprofit board members.
CRITICAL EYE: LOST ILLUSIONS
by Pépé Karmel
Trompe l’oeil painting and Cubism are formally close but very different in terms of viewer experience and pictorial meaning.
A WORK: THE TRANSPORTERS
by Emily Chun
Mire Lee’s recent sculptural suite of pumping mechanisms and suspended pipes recalls visceral processes and organs.
PROFILE: STELLA ZHONG
by Mira Dayal
Playing with visible and invisible elements in her sculptures, paintings and videos, the New York-based artist of Chinese origin probes the limits of understanding.
Eleanor Heartney on Kaelen Wilson-Goldie Beautiful, horrible and true: artists at work facing war.
Questions and answers with restaurateur Julian Baumgartner.
by Francesca Tarocco
The popular notion of a calmly meditative Buddhism is only part of the religion’s long and complex history.
by Greg Allen
The imposing temples and tabernacles of the Church of Latter-day Saints evoke both heavenly aspirations and refuge from social persecution.
by Monica Uszerowicz
The works of Kurt Nahar, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Nyugen E. Smith, and Chire “VantaBlack” Regans and Loni Johnson demonstrate the continued vitality of Afro-Caribbean spirituality.
IMAGING THE HOLY LAND
by Chelsea Haines
For photographers and filmmakers, representing the Palestinian-Israeli region is a tug of war between religious myths and sociopolitical reality.
IN THE STUDIO: SHAHPOUR POUYAN
with Jordan Amirkhani
Born in Iran and currently based in London, the conceptual sculptor speaks about his lifelong fascination with Islamic architecture, high-tech weaponry, global mythologies and ancient philosophy.
SEE AND BELIEVE
hosted by Emily Watlington
Four painters – Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Tammy Nguyen, Alina Perez and Jannis Marwitz – discuss their bold reinventions of traditional Christian iconography. A special excerpt from Perez accompanies the article.
“THE FIRST HOMOSEXUALS”
Wrightwood 659, Chicago
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
David Zwirner, New York
“LISTEN TO ME NOW”
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Nicolas T Rinehart
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Davidson, New York
Diana Seo Hyung Lee
56 Henry, New York
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Charlene K. Lau