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By Anna Sarkissian
A title like “Making Love with Jesus” may not appeal to all tastes. If AA Bronson’s keynote address doesn’t rouse your interest, some of the other big names at the Art+Religion symposium from April 15 to 17 just might.
The pot-stirring artist, healer, and 2009 recipient of an honorary doctorate from Concordia is headlining the fourth annual Max and Iris Stern International Symposium, co-organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and Concordia.
Associate professor Tim Clark from Fine Arts proposed the collaboration to the MAC three years ago. François LeTourneux, associate curator, got behind the idea.
Clark has an interest in theology and post-secular theory. He teaches Topics in Art and Ideology, a graduate-level Studio Arts course.
“Many of my students took this class not knowing what it really was about but they were quickly fascinated by the issues,” he says.
Clark hopes to open up discussion about a number of issues relating to contemporary art, religion and post-secularism.
The symposium is drawing international specialists from multiple disciplines, including Catherine Pickstock from the University of Cambridge, Boris Groys from New York University and Iftikhar Dadi from Cornell University.
The organizers, which also included Pamela Bright from theological Studies, Loren Lerner from art history, Jeremy Stolow from communication studies and doctoral candidate Sara Terreault, beat out heavy competition for a SSHRC grant to fund the conference.
As the event program explains, “the world of contemporary art seems to have preserved a form of discursive inhibition vis-à-vis the issue of religion.”
According to LeTourneux, most contemporary art is derived from modern art, which is linked to secular principles. He goes on to say that most so-called “enlightened” people in the last few decades just expected secularization to take place globally.
“Now, people are discussing the return of religion, but of course it never left,” he says.
The debate begins with opening remarks at 9 a.m. in the Cinquième Salle at Place des Arts. Regular admission is $15 ($10 for students and friends of the MAC). See program details on their website.