Reports of the death of religious art have been greatly exaggerated

By S. Brent Plate
Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Black and Red on Red, 1962. Oil on paper laid on canvas. 29⅝ x 21⅝ in (75.3 x 54.9 cm). Private Collection © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko ARS, NY and DACS, London
When written in the same sentence, the terms “religion” and “art” tend to turn the contemporary secularized gaze back in time to Renaissance imagery. But while modern and contemporary artists have continued to embrace, or rail against, their spiritual inklings or their own religious pasts and presents, and while curators have responded by tapping into these sources, those writing about the arts — historians, critics, and journalists — have kept their secular gaze narrowly focused. Critics and journalists rarely diverge from the secular gaze when it comes to using art and spirit in the same sentence. And, perhaps ultimately, critics will start paying more attention. [More]
Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), Christ on the Cross, with the Virgin and Saints Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist. Oil on canvas. 83½ x 64¼ in (212 x 163 cm). Private Collection
Andres Serrano
David Wojnarowicz
John Latham
Thomas Kinkade
Wassily Kandinsky
Kazimir Malevich
Piet Mondrian
Mark Rothko
Barnett Newman
Agnes Martin
Yves Klein
Bill Viola
Gary Hill
Paweł Wojtasik 
Shirin Neshat 
Maya Deren
Stan Brakhage
Nina Danino
Nathaniel Dorsky 
Andy Goldsworthy
James Turrell
Howard Finster
James Hampton
Guy Laramée
Brian Dettmer
Meg Hitchcock
Shahzia Sikander
Richard Francis 
Chris Ofili
Kerry James Marshall 
Jack Levine
George Segal
Audrey Flack
Larry Rivers
R. B. Kitaj
Leonard Baskin
Allan Kaprow
Ben Shahn
Nancy Spero,