Encountering the Way: Mysticism in Art

College Art Association (CAA) Conference
Chicago, IL | February 17, 2024

Foundation for Spirituality and the Arts, in collaboration with the Services to Artists Committee, presented an exceptional panel at College Art Association, entitled “Encountering the Way: Mysticism in Art.” Conceptualized and organized by FSA Director of Programs Leeza Ahmady, and New York-based artist Katerina Lanfranco, the program was co-chaired with Karen Gergely, a distinguished professor at Graceland University.

Explicitly or not, mysticism has long been a part of art and the creative process. Historically, artists believed themselves to be conduits to the muse; witnessing, as much as creating, their artworks. But as a culture of individualism and secularism emerged in the 19th century in the modern Western world, a move towards personal agency, ambition, and willpower pushed away from a sense of being connected to a larger unknowable whole. Unlike many other “isms” in Contemporary Art, mysticism is difficult to understand from an objective and analytical approach. This panel explored a variety of perspectives related to mysticism in art, from historical models to contemporary approaches. Featured presenters include: Taylor Worley, Linda Docherty, Noa Avron Barak, and Scott Davis.





Guarding Art’s Ineffability: Mysticism within the Conceptual Turn

Taylor Worley, Wheaton College

Creativity and Spirituality: Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Mystic Way
Linda Docherty, Bowdoin College

Art, The Eternal Thou, and the Mystical Interface: Martin Buber’s Dialogical Aesthetics in Contemporary Practice

Noa Avron Barak

A Sacredness Without Specificity: Scarves, Cognac, and Teddy Bears in the Art of Charlemagne Palestine

Scott Davis, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Please find the Presentation Abstracts in the link below