AAJ Press
A&AJ Critical Writing, Architecture & Design, Art & Public Space, Art Projects, sacred spaces

Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings a New York Archive: Storefront for Art and Architecture. 14 September – 5 November 2011

Storefront for Art and Architecture presents Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings a New York Archive. A collective project curated by Matilde Cassani that unveils the hidden spaces within New York dedicated to the different beliefs of its citizens – profane buildings transformed into the sacred: private shrines; new bespoke religious buildings; and unofficial spaces for prayer. As part of the exhibition, Storefront for Art and Architecture are developing a New York Archive of Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings. Contributions will explain either a story or the memory of a visit, a sketch of a known space, a photograph of a street sign, a location in a map, to help construct the most comprehensive guide to the sacred unknown of New York.

The exhibition will transform Storefront’s Acconci-Holl façade into a golden wall framing three spaces for reflection and containing three different series of objects: 1. Taxonomical Readings of the New York Archive; 2. Spiritual Devices; and 3. Symbolic Objects.

The Taxonomical Readings of the New York Archive will cross-examine each submission to the archive by presenting them in “sacred books” that will be organized in different formats for viewers to peruse. Some of the books will organize submissions by category (religion, geography, etc) and some of the books will be organized by the curator to present an in-depth analysis of a select submissions through a series of images and interviews with occupants of the select sacred space. Each book will shift the relationship between the content and its ideology while simultaneously working as a guide of exploration for audiences. The presentation of Spiritual Devices will include four mobile, foldable, transportable structures of 1 x 2 metres designed by the curator after her extensive research into objects associated with rituals performed in temples and unofficial prayer rooms. Each structure will contain the minimum elements necessary for individual prayer rituals in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. Through the presentation of a collection of Symbolic Objects donated by different religious communities of New York, Storefront will display a collection of objectified sacredness. The objects will explore how the boundary between sacred and profane is whittled down to mere convention and how sacred architecture often times constitutes a form of interior design, its ritual instruments and decorations being mass-produced objects that are mostly just rendered holy for the occasion.

Image: Sacred Devices 4


About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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