14 Pages

Introduction: What is a contemporary spiritual music?


Almost 15 years ago, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne held a spellbinding exhibition entitled Beyond Belief: Modern Art and the Religious Imagination.1 While many familiar names were on display, some closely concerned with religious inspiration such as Henri Matisse and Mark Rothko, more surprising perhaps was the fascination that religion held over artists such as Francis Bacon, Audrey Flack, George Grosz, Frida kahlo, Antonio Saura, Andy Warhol, George Dix, Emil Nolde, Jose Clemente Orozco, Pablo Picasso, Francesco Clemente and Cindy Sherman. Postmodernist transgression was on display in the forms of Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ (1987), a small crucifix placed in a glass of the artist’s own urine, and Daniel Goldstein’s Icarian II/Incline (1993), a framed workout bench covered in the sweat of men with AIDS from a San Francisco gymnasium, their spectral presence remaining as a cross-like effigy on this leather shroud.