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209 introduction: situating contemporary art and religion 1. Recent exhibitions that have thematized religion in various perspectives are Heaven: An Exhibition that Will Break Your Heart, 2000; Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art, 2002; As Heavy as Heaven, 2004; Soul: Inspired Art, 2005; One Hundred Artists See God, 2004–05; The Next Generation: Contemporary Expressions of Faith, 2005; Seeing God, 2005–06; Traces of the Sacred, 2008; Holy Inspiration: Religion and Spirituality in Modern Art, 2008; God and Goods, 2008; Medium Religion, 2008; and The Return of Religion and Other Myths, 2009. I discuss these exhibitions in chapter 4. In previous decades there were two major exhibitions that addressed art and spirituality . The exhibition Negotiating Rapture: The Power of Art to Transform Lives, shown in 1996 at the Museum for Contemporary Art in Chicago, included works by Agnes Martin, Lucio Fontana, Anselm Kiefer, and Barnett Newman . The exhibition addressed such themes as transcendence and the sublime in the work of twentieth-century artists, and how art may open space for spiritual or religious experiences. It included works that engage with or refer to different religious traditions: Judaism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Catholicism , and Sufism. Its extensive catalogue, Richard Francis, ed., Negotiating Rapture: The Power of Art to Transform Lives (Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996), features essays by Homi Bhabha, Didi-Huberman, and David Morgan. Another extensive exhibition, The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting, 1890–1985, shown at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1986– 87, engaged with occultism and spiritualist doctrines in the development of abstract painting. An exhibition catalogue has been published: Maurice Tuchman , ed., The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890–1985 (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986). 2. See James Elkins, On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art (New York: Routledge, 2004), 6–27. 3. This is a point on which virtually all participants in the symposium “Re-Enchantment” (Art Institute of Chicago, 17 April 2007) agreed, although they held otherwise quite different positions. See “The Art notes 210 Notes to pages 2–5 Seminar,” in Re-Enchantment, ed. James Elkins and David Morgan (New York: Routledge, 2009). 4. Hent de Vries, “Introduction: Why Still ‘Religion’?” in Religion: Beyond a Concept, ed. Hent de Vries (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 11. 5. Ninian Smart, The World’s Religions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). 6. Hent de Vries observes that the complexity of religion cannot be reduced to a single concept: “That much is certain: no simple linear narrative or causal explanation, least of all a logic of progressive demythologization, disenchantment, and secularization is capable of attaining clear, univocal designation to any ‘concept’ of religion” (“Introduction,” in de Vries, Religion: Beyond a Concept, 2). 7. See David Morgan, “Art and Religion in the Modern Age,” in Elkins and Morgan, Re-Enchantment, 25. 8. Bram Kempers discusses the main features of this transforming relationship in Painting, Power and Patronage: The Rise of the Professional Artist in the Italian Renaissance, tr. Beverley Jackson (London: Penguin Books, 1984). He writes: “While the magnetic appeal of religion has declined, art has gained significance of elevated ideals. . . . Famous modern artists are seen as the true descendants of Renaissance geniuses, and art specialists cast themselves in the role of preservers of the great tradition of patronage. Together they have made museums the cult places of modern society. Intellectual circles honour modern artists while to most of society the new saints are sports champions and pop stars. Where religion no longer has a monopoly on the appeal of the spiritual or the challenge of the unknown, art has itself acquired a sacred significance that has soared far above the social struggle to achieve status, wealth and power” (317). 9. Tomoko Masuzawa has remarked that “on the one hand there is ‘religion ’ as we understand it, and on the other, so-called secularization—‘the evacuation of religion from the world,’ disenchantment. These two things, religion and secularization, were born together, and their birth date was roughly around the Enlightenment” (“The Art Seminar,” in Elkins and Morgan , Re-Enchantment, 119). 10. More recently Jean-Luc Nancy has developed this thesis extensively in his Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity, tr. Bettina Bergo (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008). 11. See Marcel Gauchet, The Disenchantment of the World, tr. Oscar Burge (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), 200. 12. In Marie-José Mondzain’s words, “In promoting the visibility of God in his christic...