Art and Religion in the 21st Century

Art & Religion in the 21st Century

  1. Aaron Rosen
  • ISBN 9780500239315
  • 27.00 x 22.50 cm
  • PLC (no jacket)
  • 256pp
  • Illustrated in colour throughout
  • First published 2015

A thought-provoking survey of the relationship between art and religion in contemporary culture, illustrated by some of the most compelling and provocative works from across the globe

‘A timely introduction to art that engages with spirituality today’ – Apollo
'Rosen’s book, brimming with examples, is a wonderful resource, offering numerous ways of entering into and adjusting the frames of debates whose urgency is only increasing'– Journal of the American Academy of Religion
‘Lavishly illustrated and clearly intended for the non-specialist, this is a lively, articulate and genuinely thought-provoking publication’– Jewish Renaissance
'Crammed with countless colour images, this book is a pleasure to look at and touch … a beautiful book and one that engrossed me as I read and looked … through his discussions of religious iconography, the sublime, culture, ritual, and indwelling, he demonstrates that the sacred in art is never far from our gaze'– Religere

See Aaron Rosen's extensive article in the Guardian Online
See Aaron Rosen at the Jewish museum in conversation with Edward Stourton about Religious Art

Blaspheming artists get all the press. But contemporary artists are, in fact, some of the most profound and sensitive commentators on religion today. Art & Religion in the 21st Century is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary art and culture.

Contrary to the expectations of 20th-century rationalists, religion has not faded away in the 21st century, but roared back onto the scene with renewed vitality. This survey shows how religious themes and images continue to permeate the work of contemporary artists from across the globe. Some exploit the shock potential of religious imagery, but many also reflect deeply on spiritual matters.

The introduction outlines the debates and controversies that the art–religion connection has precipitated throughout history. Each of the book’s chapters opens by introducing
a theme – ideas about creation, the sublime, wonder, diaspora and exile, religious and political conflict, ritual practice, mourning and monumentalizing, environmental art and sacred space – followed by a selection of works of art that develop that theme.

The book encompasses a wide range of media and genres, from sculpture to street art, and considers faith in its broadest sense – from Islam and Christianity to Aboriginal mythology and meditation.

Artists discussed include Ai Weiwei, Francis Alÿs, Vanessa Beecroft, Maurizio Cattelan, Cristo and Jeanne-Claude, Olafur Eliasson, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, David LaChapelle, Richard Long, Annette Messager, Mariko Mori, Grayson Perry, Richard Serra, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, Mark Wallinger and more.

Aaron Rosen is the lecturer in Sacred Traditions and the Arts, King’s College, London. He is the author of Imagining Jewish Art and the editor of Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan.

See the Art and religion: a modern makeover story in the Independent