What Does Faith Look Like?

Even Godless Hipsters Love the Stigmata

From Medieval Manuscripts to Burning Man, We Use Art to Get Closer to the Sacred

The yearning for intimacy with the sacred remains as potent today as it was in medieval days, when art was preoccupied almost entirely with depicting the divine. Last night’s spirited (pun intended), time-traveling Zócalo Public Square/Getty “Open Art” event at the Getty Center connected wide-ranging contemporary yearning (as evidenced by the success of the grilled cheese sandwich press, the recurring monthly apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the Mojave Desert, and the spiritual fervor at Burning Man) to the medieval art on display in the Getty’s exhibition Things Unseen: Vision, Belief, and Experience in Illuminated Manuscripts. …


The Dome Is Where the Heart Is

A Hallmark of Middle Eastern Architecture Helps Muslims Orient Themselves Toward Mecca, and One Another

The green dome of the Omar ibn Al-Khattab mosque in Los Angeles interrupts the low skyline with a quiet gravitas. The mosque has been here since 1982, next door to the University of Southern California, its minaret a beacon for the Muslim community that clogs Exposition Boulevard with traffic every Friday afternoon for congregational prayers. When I was younger, this was where my community held funerals and weddings, Ramadan dinners, and Eid celebrations. At sunset, we gathered in the great prayer hall, in the glow of dying sunlight and fluorescent bulbs, and prayed our Maghrib prayers.

The dome at the Omar ibn Al-Khattab …


On the Road to Tepeyac, Guadalupe’s Got Their Backs

Alinka Echeverría’s Photographs of Religious Pilgrims Question What an Image Really Is

Alinka Echeverría’s The Road To Tepeyac, a series of photographs of pilgrims to Mexico’s famed Basilica de Guadalupe, is an invitation to think about altars, embodiment, and visibility.

Alinka and I met on November 14, 2014, at the Berkeley Art Museum and spoke of many things, including her experience growing up in a small village in England, where her family relocated to from Mexico while her father completed his graduate degree. Alinka studied anthropology in Europe and began working as a documentary photographer but felt creatively stymied. Exhibiting her photographs, on the other hand, has led to work somewhere between documentary and fine art, anthropology and something else—a reflection …

*Banner image courtesy of Phillip Maiwald.

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