M. Campos-Pons: Cia Cara #1
María Magdalena Campos-Pons,
Cia Cara #1, 2008. Large-format
Polaroid. Collection of the Museum
of Contemporary Religious Art.

click image for enlarged view

Celebrating fifteen years
On February 14, 1993, the world’s first interfaith museum of contemporary art opened its doors. Fifteen years later, Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) continues to serve as a forum for the ongoing dialogue between today’s artists and the major faith traditions. At this significant vantage point, MOCRA will present two fifteenth-anniversary exhibitions that draw on artists and artworks selected from the museum’s first 35 exhibitions.

Works set in dialogue
Our first anniversary exhibition, Pursuit of the Spirit, will set works by over 40 artists in dialogue with each other, exploring broad themes such as Sacred Spaces, The Sublime, Mother and Child, and Image and Text. Artists in the exhibition include:

MOCRA presents the first of two exhibitions celebrating the museum’s first fifteen years.
Drawing primarily on the MOCRA collection, Pursuit of the Spirit places works in dialogue
in order to examine major themes that have emerged in MOCRA’s first 35 exhibitions.

September 21 - December 14, 2008  
  MOCRA will be closed Thursday, November 27 for Thanksgiving.
 MOCRA will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.

Opening reception Sunday, September 21, 2008
     1 - 4 p.m.   free public opening reception
           2 p.m.   
brief remarks
                           Terrence E. Dempsey, S.J.,
Founding Director and Curator, MOCRA
                           Gerald Bolas, Ph.D., former Director of the Ackland Art Museum of UNC-Chapel Hill

Pursuit of the Spirit brochureDownload an informational brochure with sample images.
low resolution (470kb) or high resolution (3.5MB)

Hours: Tues - Sun, 11 am - 4 pm 
Admission: free, with suggested donation of $5/adults, $1/students and children
Group visits (school, religious, community, seniors, etc.) please call in advance
Directions to MOCRA

Alvin Ailey
Seyed Alavi
Romare Bearden
Lore Bert
Frederick J. Brown
María Magdalena
Junko Chodos
Jon Cournoyer
Michael David
Lewis deSoto
Sue Eisler
Robert Farber
Oskar Fischinger
Arshile Gorky
Steven Heilmer
Steven Holl
Tony Hooker
Carolyn Jones
Tobi Kahn
Dean Kessman
Paul Kos
Robert Kostka
Frank LaPeña
Tim Liddy
Whitfield Lovell
Stephen Luecking
J. W. Mahoney
Bernard Maisner
Richard Meier
Jeff Miller
DoDo Jin Ming
Anne Minich
Jim Morphesis
Gary Passanise
Daniel Ramirez
James Rosen
Georges Rouault
Susan Schwalb
Shahzia Sikander
Thomas Skomski
Kazuaki Tanahashi
Kanya Tjapangarti
Michael Tracy
Brian Tripp
Andy Warhol

In a time when religion is a predominant topic in societies throughout the world—often generating more heat than light—MOCRA continues to foster dialogue that seeks deeper understanding of others’ traditions and greater appreciation of one’s own.

For over 35 years, the Fusz Memorial Chapel was used by Jesuits studying philosophy at Saint Louis University, but in 1990 the Jesuits relocated to smaller residences near the campus. In Spring 1991 Saint Louis University President Rev. Lawrence Biondi, S.J., gave permission to Rev. Terrence Dempsey, S.J., to adapt the chapel for use as a museum devoted to the presentation of contemporary religious Art. A thoughtful renovation made the chapel a suitable and noteworthy space for displaying art while honoring the original purpose and architecture of the building.

Since then, the museum has mounted 35 exhibitions involving more than 160 artists. MOCRA’s exhibitions have demonstrated the range of contemporary religious and spiritual artistic expression, presenting the work of artists who have attained recognition regionally, nationally, and internationally. Some work overtly pays homage to particular faith traditions while other works are more oblique but nonetheless spiritual. The media employed have varied from traditional painting, drawing, and prints to unusual materials such as blood, earth, mylar, and helium. Exhibitions at MOCRA have been enhanced by numerous conferences, lectures, and performances involving major theologians, visual artists, art historians, museum directors and curators, doctors, lawyers, philosophers, psychologists, choreographers, and musicians.

Please join us as we celebrate the first fifteen years of MOCRA, a foundational legacy
upon which we will build ever more expansive exhibitions and programming.

Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
Saint Louis University