Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA)

3700 West Pine Blvd,Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO 63108 - United States





Free Everyday

Saint Louis University's Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) is the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary art that engages religious and spiritual themes. Through exhibitions, collections and educational programs, MOCRA highlights and explores the ways contemporary visual artists engage the religious and spiritual dimensions. MOCRA seeks to facilitate personal discovery, experience and inspiration, while contributing to a wider culture of interfaith encounter and dialogue.


Surface to Source features works from the MOCRA collection that haven’t been shown in a number of years juxtaposed with perennial favorites. The exhibition’s title alludes to a poem by the late John O’Donohue, “For the Artist at the Start of Day,” which begins,

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

Works in the exhibition reflect and refract the dual themes of surface and source. Some works delight with their materiality, from heavy impasto to hewn wood to burnished metal to imperceptible brushwork. Some works draw directly from religious scriptures or dialogue with art historical antecedents, while others seem to be manifested from deep within the artist's imagination.

From charming animals processing in pairs from the Ark, to serene saints inviting contemplation, to refugee children whose piercing gazes refuse to let us look away, these works will delight, intrigue and challenge viewers.

Learn more about the "Surface to Source" exhibition here.

At 2 p.m. on April 4, MOCRA’s Founding Director, Terrence Dempsey, S.J., will present a talk titled "The Crucifixion in Art History," an engaging overview of the ways the image of the Crucifixion has reflected the many cultures in which it has appeared. The talk takes place in MOCRA's Nave Gallery and is free and open to the public.

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