2010 Catherwood Lecture – Contemporary Art and the Return of Religion

Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin delivered the 2010 Catherwood Lecture, looking at the subject of Contemporary Art and the Return of Religion. She spoke in the University of Ulster’s Magee campus on Wednesday. The video below is from the Thursday night in University of Ulster’s Belfast campus.

Amongst the blocks of colour, unmade beds, sheds and rubble, do you see any aspect of religious expression or faith in modern art? Was it a positive representation? Was the art any good?

Adrienne suggested that after several centuries of mutual distrust, mainstream contemporary art from Andy Warhol and Andres Serrano to Damien Hirst and Chris Ofili can now be seen to incorporate the kind of religious references which since the origins of modern art had been largely absent.

This raises some interesting questions: How do these images relate to their historic, traditional meanings? To whom do religious stories and symbols belong? And how should Christians respond to such works?

Dr Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin studied art history and violin in the Free University in Amsterdam, taught philosophical aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, and was president of the Canadian Society for Aesthetics. Her research interests are the problem of meaning in art, art and embodiment, and theological aesthetics. Published in various books and journals and co-author of Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts (IVP, 2002), Adrienne is a free-lance writer and speaker, currently writing on the relation between faith and art.

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