OCTOBER 6, 2016 – MARCH 12, 2017
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is proud to present The Christa Project: Manifesting Divine Bodies, featuring the 1975 sculpture Christa by Edwina Sandys, a 4 x 5 foot statue cast in bronze consisting of a nude female Christ on an acrylic cross. The statue will be on view above the altar in the Chapel of Saint Saviour at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City from October 6, 2016 through March 12, 2017.
The exhibition is comprised of contemporary art exploring the language, symbolism, art and ritual associated with the historic concept of the Christ image and the divine as manifested in every person, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The exhibition will feature works of more than 20 renowned artists including Meredith Bergmann, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Holly Trostle Brigham, Loren Eiferman, Nona Faustine, Jackie Fawn, Terry Flaxton, Fredericka Foster, William Johnston, Gabriel García Román, Janice Gordon, Hélène Gugenheim, Jenny Hankwitz, Emma Lindström, Heidi Loening, Ted Meyer, Eiko Otake, Edwina Sandys, Kiki Smith, Esmay Wagemans, Kara Walker and Bettina Witteveen and selections from the Cathedral collection. The exhibition will also feature pieces from the James Parks Morton Interfaith Art Collection.
Acclaimed performance artist Eiko Otake has been appointed Artist-in-Residence and project co-curator. She will offer solo performances within the Cathedral and design a mutable exhibition of dance photographs created in collaboration with historian-photographer William Johnston, all of which explore the dignity and transcendence inherent in the ordinary and the disregarded.
During Holy Week of 1984, Christa was displayed in the Cathedral as part of a small exhibition on the feminine divine. The general reception was positive, but a particularly vocal minority condemned the piece and its placement in a house of worship through ecclesiastical denunciations and a plethora of hate mail that attacked the “blasphemy” of changing the symbol of Christ. These dissenters highlighted how the sculpture’s allegedly sexualized (i.e. female) figure brought attention to Christ’s human body, which was “blasphemous, shocking, and inappropriate.”
Drawing from this historic moment and the questions that arose, The Christa Project explores the value of the symbol and challenges to it through Christian, interfaith, secular, artistic, and ethical frameworks.
DATE:            October 6, 2016 through March 12, 2017
TIME:             Open 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
With limited access on Sundays
PLACE:          Cathedral of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street)