Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Museum of the Bible Aims For Timeless Name, Imagery

By Cathy Lynn Grossman
The new Museum of the Bible logo. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible
WASHINGTON, DC---Museum of the Bible. That’s it. The name of the museum under construction in Washington, D.C., is official. “We don’t need more to tell people who and what we are,” the museum’s founder and funder, Steve Green, told Religion News Service. But, as always with the Bible, nothing is ever simple. The high-tech museum, set to open in fall 2017, is four blocks from the U.S. Capitol and three blocks from a global tourism mecca, the Air and Space Museum. The new museum will feature standing exhibits on the history and impact of the Bible as well as interactive features to bring viewers into Bible stories and characters. [link]

Gay and God: Walter Robinson on the Perverse Art of Robert Gober

By Walter Robinson
Robert Gober’s Untitled, 1992, from “The Heart Is Not A Metaphor” at the Museum of Modern Art. (Courtesy MoMA)
NEW YORK---Is any artwork sadder than a sink by Robert Gober? Mr. Gober’s art invites just that kind of metaphorical reading, regardless of any denial that might be implicit in the show’s title. It is an art of mourning and, arguably, one that reflects a specifically homosexual experience. Mr. Gober has given the source of the image of a white porcelain sink as both a childhood memory and a dream, and has spoken of using in his work images that “haunt” him—an approach that admits autobiography and trauma. Before the AIDS crisis, gay liberation had included a lively cultural and sexual renaissance located in New York communal baths, which were of course shut down by city health authorities after the health emergency got under way.  Overall, the show is both spare and elegant, and easy to take in. [link]

Former Churches Blessed With New Lives in Pittsburgh

By Dan Eldridge
The Altar Bar, a Catholic chapel turned concert hall. Courtesy of Flickr
PENNSYLVANIA---Like most American Rust Belt towns settled by European immigrant laborers, Pittsburgh in the early 20th century was a deeply religious place, where ornate Romanesque and Gothic chapels, churches and cathedrals rose in nearly every corner of the city. But partly as a result of the steel industry’s collapse, Pittsburgh’s population (now just over 300,000) has been in decline for decades, and congregations have been abandoning their grand old churches in search of smaller, more affordable spaces. Along the way, some of the Steel City’s savviest entrepreneurs have been purchasing many of Pittsburgh’s disused churches and adapting them into clubs, restaurants, theaters and concert venues. [link]

The Quiet, Quiet Signs of Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas

By Leah Binkovitz
Interior of the chapel in Houston, Texas
TEXAS---The Sign: Eighteen inches. That's the distance from which one should view a Rothko painting, according to Mark Rothko. One might have to get closer to read the signs outside the Rothko Chapel though. The placards placed around the tan brick structure are minimal, not much more than museum labels. If the chapel were in a museum, say the Menil Collection next door, it would take little to adapt the muted signage: Rothko Chapel. 1971. Mark Rothko, Philip Johnson, Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry. Commissioned by Dominique and John de Menil. As they are today, the signs offer some fairly vague guidance for visitors who might be unsure how to proceed: stand-squint-sigh or count rosary beads. "All are welcome," one reads. Another, "Guests are invited to experience the silence."[link]

Gay Couples Get Marriage Licenses in State of Wyoming

WYOMING---Wyoming has become the latest state to allow same-sex unions, bringing the wave of legalizations to a place where the 1998 beating death of Matthew Shepard galvanized a national push for gay rights. Gay couples began to apply for marriage licenses Tuesday morning, albeit far more quietly than in other states where bans were recently struck down. Hundreds of same-sex couples in Idaho and Nevada flooded clerk's offices and courthouses in recent weeks and married immediately afterward to cheering crowds. In Wyoming, however, only a handful of couples received licenses across the state as the change went into effect. [listen]

An Interview With Artist Anila Quayyum Agha: Testament to the Symbiosis of Difference

By Kenan Šurković, Art Historian, May 4, 2014
Anila Quayyum Agha / My Forked Tongue II, installation view / Courtesy of the Artist
INDIANA---Anila Quayyum Agha is a multi-disciplinary artist; creating artwork that explores global politics, cultural multiplicity, mass media, and social and gender roles in our current cultural and global scenario. As a result her artwork is conceptually challenging, producing complicated weaves of thought, artistic action and social experience. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Agha holds an MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of North Texas. In 2008 she relocated to Indianapolis to teach Drawing at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. In 2009 Agha was the recipient of the Efroymson Arts Fellowship. This year Agha received the Creative Renewal Fellowship awarded by the Indianapolis Arts Council. [link]

Kappari Kishan’s Muse is Lord Venkateswara for his Latest Works

By Neeraja Murthy
A work on Lord Venkateswara by artist Kappari Kishan
INDIA---A trip to Tirupati reminds devotees of the long-winding queues and waiting endlessly to have a fleeting glance of Lord Venkateswara. “Even if the wait is endless, the darshan is worth the wait,” states artist Kappari Kishan whose one such visit to Tirumala has resulted in a series of works put up at the newly-inaugurated Pipal Tree gallery in Fatehmaidan. At the entrance is a wooden creation which evokes the spiritual feeling. Next are two stones depicting an outline of namam. “This can be used like a paper weight,” he says. Besides a collage work on paper, the canvases are filled with different images of the God with a spotlight on gold colour. [link]