Sacred spaces have been significant venues for post-war art – despite the widespread perception that religious or spiritual art is little more than a footnote to a secular era. Most notable, perhaps, is the non-denominational Rothko Chapel in Houston, in which Mark Rothko reimagined the conventions of religious art, and which recently reopened to the public following extensive renovation. But Rothko is far from alone among leading post-war artists in having taken on such a commission: from Louise Nevelson’s Chapel of the Good Shepherd in New York to Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, and from Matisse’s Chapel of the Rosary in Vence to Ettore Spalletti’s chapel for Villa Serena near Pescara, sacred spaces have offered modern and contemporary artists the opportunity to further the meditative possibilities of their art.
This conversation will explore the aesthetic and spiritual concerns of such projects, discussing their role in what is often described as a ‘post-religious’ world – and asking whether they have a new relevance in our chaotic times.
Annie Cohen-Solal Academic and writer; author of ‘Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel’ (2015) and ‘Sartre: A Life’ (1987)
Aaron Rosen Professor of Religion & Visual Culture and Director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.
Nausikaä El-Mecky Tenure track professor at Pompeu Fabra University (Department of Humanities), Barcelona
Moderator: Thomas Marks Editor, Apollo