“Encountering
the Spiritual in Contemporary Art”

Leesa Fanning | Yale University Press
Nelson-Atkins Museum | 2018

This FSA Inspirations feature is an in-depth and current investigation of how the spiritual is manifestly present in contemporary art. Leesa Fanning, former curator of contemporary art Nelson Atkins Museum, considers over three decades of contemporary art engaging spirituality. Relates Fanning: “It significantly broadens the scope of previous studies to include new media and non-Western and Indigenous art (in addition to that of the East and West), presents art from diverse cultures with equal status, promotes cultural specificity, and moves beyond notions of “center” and “periphery,” celebrating the plurality and global nature of contemporary art today. Major essays based on cultural affinities are interspersed with brief thematic essays (Art-Making as Spiritual Process, Materials/Form/Color, Sources of Inspiration, and The Artist’s Body as Signifier of Spiritual Content) to provide two different perspectives and will expand the knowledge of academic and general audiences.

Encountering the Spiritual in Contemporary Art provides an alternative to the main currents of presentation and interpretation prevalent in contemporary art, appealing to believers, agnostics, and inveterate skeptics alike. This essential publication demonstrates that the need to address the fundamental questions of life are both innate and ongoing.”

Contains essays by essays by Ladan Akbarnia, Stephen Gilchrist, Eleanor Heartney, Mary Jane Jacob, Karen Kramer, and Karen E. Milbourne.