Objects of Devotion and Desire: Medieval Relic to Contemporary Art

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1,000 Haloes, 2009 Glass And Wire Dimensions Variable © Courtesy of the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Terry Brown.
Venus, 2010 Single Channel Hd Video 4 Minutes, 13 Seconds © Courtesy of the artist.
Objects of Devotion and Desire: Medieval Relic to Contemporary Art
Curated by: Cynthia Hahn

68th Street, Cnr Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10021
January 27th, 2011 - April 30th, 2011
Opening: January 27th, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

upper east side
(212) 772-4991
Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm
City University of New York Graduate Center (CUNY), Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
medieval, relic, reliquaries, reliquary photography, modern, video-art, sculpture, mixed-media, performance, conceptual


OBJECTS OF DEVOTION AND DESIRE: Medieval Relic to Contemporary Art

January 27–April 30, 2011

Curated by Cynthia Hahn
Professor of Art History, Hunter College

with the assistance of

Shelley DeMaria / David Louis Fierman / Sydney Gilbert / Natalie Hegert / Anjuli J. Lebowitz / Amy Levin / Ashira Loike / Sophia Marisa Lucas / Maeve O’Donnell-Morales / Maggie A. Norville / Valentina A. Spalten / Annie Wischmeyer /
MA Candidates in Art History, Hunter College

Aimee Bonamie / Danyel M. R. Ferrari / Kim Hoeckele / Ross McDonnell / Sarah Young /
MFA Candidates in Fine Art, Hunter College

Kimberly A. Alvarado / Joy Partridge
PhD Student in Art History, The Graduate Center , CUNY

Medieval reliquaries from
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Joseph Beuys /
Christian Boltanski /
Noel Brennan /
Olafur Eliasson /
Melissa Hacker /
Nate Larson /
Eva and Franco Mattes /
Jeffrey Mongrain /
Gayil Nalls /
Ishmael Randall Weeks /
Stuart Sherman /
Hiromi Takizawa /
Hannah Wilke /
Bryan Zanisnik /

Early photography from
the collection of Charles Schwartz

 Medieval reliquaries—beautiful containers that seek to glorify religious relics, which might include bits of body, shreds of cloth, or even merely dust—are difficult to assess in terms of standard art categories. Their authorship is in question and, for many, their status as art is compromised by their link to religious superstitions. Above all, they demand the cooperation of the viewer. In contemporary art, these same issues are frequently subject to examination. With recent emphases on the abject, the body, memory and its construction, the meaning of materials and objects, and the participation of the viewer in the creation of the work of art, a fresh look at reliquaries has particular resonance for contemporary artists and audiences.