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Lecture: Spiritual Moderns: Twentieth-Century American Artists and Issues of Religion

September 16, 2015 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Co-sponsored by the Friends of American Art, University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Art and Art History, and Birmingham-Southern College

This lecture examines the significance of religious belief in the making and meaning of modern American art. Looking at American moderns ranging in stylistic diversity from Joseph Cornell and Mark Tobey to Agnes Pelton, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol, it further considers why religion was largely excluded in the history of modern American art, especially as that history was shaped in the early through mid-twentieth century. How might the visual, material, and affective dimensions of religious belief enrich our thinking about modern American art?

Erika Doss is professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in modern and contemporary American art and cultural studies. Her most recent book is Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America (University of Chicago Press, 2010). She is co-editor of the “Culture America” series at the University Press of Kansas, and on the editorial boards of Public Art Dialogue and Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief. Her current book project is Spiritual Moderns: Twentieth Century American Artists and Religion.