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Sacred Traditions and the Arts

Archive: past ASK events

Past Sacred Traditions seminars & events


Protestantism: The Death of Art or the Birth of Art History?

25 February 2019

Hegel’s Aesthetics claims that it is a legacy of Protestantism that we 'no longer venerate works of art'. The novel plays an important role in his historical account, since the Reformation emphases on inwardness and the individual led to what he called 'the broken promise of an epic life'. For Hegel, the novel takes Protestantism to its logical, prosaic conclusion, depicting the aesthetic habitat of fractured modern selves who are not wholly at home in this world. Bringing Hegel into conversation with later Hegelians, Lukács and Bakhtin, Kate Kirkpatrick’s paper will present the novel as an expression of ‘transcendental homelessness’ and ‘metaphysical homesickness’ after the death of God--and art.

Michael Squire’s paper will explore the interconnections between Protestant assumptions about images and the academic discipline of art history. His argument  – painted in what he calls ‘scandalously broad brushstrokes’ – will be that art historians have at once overlooked and undertheorised the theological (specifically Lutheran) underpinnings of the discipline. On the one hand, his position intersects with what G.W.F. Hegel had to say about the history of art and its critique in his 1820s Lectures on Aesthetics. On the other, he asks whether Hegel in fact forms part of a problem rather than of a solution – and how these themes relate to the broader ‘material’ and ’sensory’ turns of the twenty-first century.

The (In)visibility of Theology in Contemporary Art
26 June 2019

This seminar in the Sacred Traditions & the Arts series will break from our usual two-speaker format to enable us to hear from the US scholar, Jonathan Anderson—co-author of the ground-breaking Modern Art and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism (2016). As prominent art historians like Thomas Crow call for the lifting of the ‘interdiction’ on theology in discussions of modern and contemporary art (No Idols: The Missing Theology of Modern Art), Anderson will explore some of the ways that religion is newly visible in contemporary art, before turning to explore the ways that theology might also make itself newly discussable in the way that such art is interpreted and analyzed.

Interpeting the Sacred in Dante's Comedy

23 October 2018

Twice in the Commedia, Dante refers to his poem as 'sacred'. The first of these references is in the context of a description of Beatrice's smile; the second is in the context of Dante's expressing his hope of being crowned as poet in the place of his baptism. How should these passages be interpreted? What is the relationship between them? What are their implications for understanding the art of Dante's Commedia as a whole? Vittorio Montemaggi’s paper will address such questions both in themselves and with a view to opening up to more general questions about the theological value of poetry. 

Ed  Krčma’s paper will explore Robert Rauschenberg's celebrated illustrations for Dante's Inferno, which were made between 1958 and 1960 using the technique of solvent transfer. Incorporating imagery from the contemporary mass media to translate Dante's vernacular into the terms of modern American life, the drawings pose a number of interpretive questions with some insistence: how far and in what ways was Rauschenberg faithful to Dante's poetry? How should we think about artistic intention in relation to the drawings? What was Rauschenberg's approach to the theological aspects of Dante's poetry specifically, and to religious content in his art more broadly?


The Human Figure in Islamic Art
18 June 2018

2017 2016 2015 2014

Art in the Face of Trauma 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013
18.00 - 19.30, Research Forum South Room

Cimetière 18 VIII 43 4 January 2004 Courtesy, Estate of Isaac Celnikier

Image: Cimetière 18 VIII 43, 4 January 2004: Courtesy, Estate of Isaac Celnikier

Speaker(s): Professor Tim Gorringe (St Luke’s Professor of Theological Studies, University of Exeter); Dr Glenn Sujo (G. F. Watts Associate Artist)
Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission
Organised by:  Professor Ben Quash (King’s College London) and Dr Scott Nethersole (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Francis Bacon, detail from Triptych 1944, Tate BritainThis seminar will explore from two perspectives how 20th-century art has responded to 20th-century traumas. These two perspectives contrast in being, respectively, Jewish and Christian, but also in bringing insights from the practice of art, and the practice of theology. As is usual in the Sacred Traditions and the Arts seminar, the two papers will each be around 20 minutes long, and the discussion that follows will permit opportunities to discuss and explore both congruence and contrasts between them.

The seminar on Sacred Traditions and the Arts is a joint venture between the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s and The Courtauld. It seeks to place researchers in dialogue who are working on any aspect of the sacred and visual culture. It is open to all scholars and students who have an interest in exploring the intersections of religion and art regardless of period, geography or tradition.

There will be ample time for discussion and questions following the papers. The event will be concluded by an informal reception.

Tim Gorringe is St Luke's Professor of Theological Studies at the University of Exeter. His academic interests focus on the interrelation between theology, social science, art and politics. His books include Karl Barth: Against Hegemony (OUP, 1999 - a study of the theologian in his social and political context), Furthering Humanity: A Theology of Culture(Ashgate 2004), The Common Good and the Global Emergency (CUP 2011) and Earthly Visions: Theology and the Challenges of Art (Yale 2011). He is at present working on a two year AHRC funded research project on the values which underpin constructive social change. In this short presentation he will raise some questions on the extent to which painting can or should respond to horror and pain.

Glenn Sujo is contributing author to G. Pollock, M. Silvermann, eds., Concentrationary Memories (London, 2013) and D. Mickleberg, C. Granof, eds., Last Expressions: Art from Auschwitz (Chicago, 2002), and is author and curator of Legacies of Silence: The Visual Arts and Holocaust Memory (Imperial War Museum, 2001) and Artists Witness the Shoah (Graves Art Gallery, 1995). A study of the life and work of Auschwitz survivor Yehuda Bacon,Disseminating Memory: Lines Across an Abyss is the subject of a book and exhibition (in preparation). Glenn Sujo is G. F. Watts Associate Artist. Lifelines, an exhibition of his work opens at the Lewis Elton Gallery, University of Surrey later this year 

Read more on the Courtauld blog (link)

'Materiality and the Sacred'

Rock Crystal Cross, Venice (?), C14, with additionsFriday 26 April 2013 
18.00-19.30, Research Forum South Room 

This seminar will explore the role materiality played in shaping sacred objects in the Middle Ages. By considering the exegetical significance of two key artistic media, ivory and rock crystal respectively, and how scientific and medical texts construed the place of these materials in the natural world, Sarah Guérin and Stefania Gerevini each consider how media contributed to the communication of the sacred. 

There will be ample time for discussion and questions following the papers. The event will be concluded by an informal reception. 


  • Stefania Gerevini is a fixed-term Lecturer of Byzantine Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her research focuses on issues of artistic interchange across the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, particularly between Byzantium and Italy. The adoptions and adaptations that took place in the treasury of San Marco in Venice have inspired Stefania to explore the uses of light and transparency as artistic media, and the dissemination of theories and theologies of light in the medieval world. 
  • Sarah Guérin is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her work focuses on cultural and intellectual history as discovered through the lens of Gothic ivories. She has published on number of questions in this field, from attributions and facture, to trade, devotional use and liturgical performance. 

Open to all, free admission.

'Sacred Space and the Cinematic'

Wednesday 20 March 2013 
River Room, King's Building

Potsdamer Platz. Image: Hilda KeanPotsdamer Platz. Image: Hilda Kean

This seminar will explore space and place in the cinematic context (with a particular focus on Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and Philip Gröning’s Into Great Silence) and consider how film can negotiate questions of the sacred.


    • Dr Christopher Hamilton is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at King’s College London. His main interests are in philosophy, literature and film. He has published work in moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, on the concept of tragedy and on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Simone Weil.
    • Dr Catherine Wheatley is Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. She is currently convenor of the MA in Film Studies, which as of September 2012 runs a specialist pathway in Film and Philosophy. She has published work on film and ethics; the question of the animal; and on Kant, Stanley Cavell and Jean-Luc Nancy. Catherine's current research is concerned with what happens to Christianity in post-secular film and philosophy.

All are welcome, and refreshments and snacks will be served.

'Invisible Cathedral: Reconsidering the Sacred in Today’s Art Museum' /  'Helen Sutherland, Patron and Collector: Art and Sacrament in the Fells'

Thursday 11 October, 2012
18.00-19.30, Research Forum South Room

Ben Nicholson, Pothmeor Beach, 1928

Speakers: Dr Michaela Giebelhausen (University of Essex) and Professor Frances Spalding CBE (Newcastle University)

These papers both explore the boundaries of sacred experience and sacrament in relation to institutional and personal contexts. Art collecting, display strategies, and the importance of space and place will be foregrounded in relation to modern Europe. There will be ample time for discussion and questions following the papers. The event will be concluded by an informal reception.

‘The Godless and the Ikon: Soviet Materialism in Sacred Forms’ / ‘Jewish Artists/Christian Spaces: Mark Rothko and Louise Nevelson’

Tuesday 12 June 2012
18:00-19:30, Inigo Rooms, Somerset House (Large Seminar Room SW-1.12)


Speaker(s): Professor John Milner (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Dr Aaron Rosen (King’s College London)


Organised by: Professor Ben Quash (King’s College London) and Dr Ayla Lepine (The Courtauld)

The inaugural seminar to explore Sacred Traditions and the Arts is a joint venture between the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s and The Courtauld. It seeks to place researchers in dialogue who are working on any aspect of the sacred and visual culture. It is open to all scholars and students who have an interest in exploring the intersections of religion and art regardless of period, geography or tradition.

On 12 June, Professor John Milner will speak on The Godless and the Ikon: Soviet Materialism in Sacred Forms. Dr Aaron Rosen will then present a paper entitled Jewish Artists/Christian Spaces: Mark Rothko and Louise Nevelson. This pairing explores and complicates notions of sacred experience in relation to modern spaces and identity in Russia and the United States in the twentieth century.

Past artists', collectors' & curators' talks


Investigating the shadows
2 February 2015

3rd ASK/ACE Artist's Talk by Anna Freeman Bentley

Room 3.01, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway
Monday 2nd February 2015, 6 - 7.30 pm

Anna Freeman Bentley is a London-based artist whose painting and site specific work employs images of architectural environments that explore the emotive potential of space and its associations with longing and memory. Her practice engages with the built environment, exploring how cities decline and regenerate while raising questions about change and transformation, aspiration and desire, buildings and people, matter and spirit. Following a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, in 2010 she graduated with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art. She has had solo exhibitions in Berlin, Venice and California, residencies in London with the Florence Trust and with the Michelin-starred restaurant Pied a Terre, and participated in group exhibitions including the Prague Biennale 2011, the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009 and the inaugural East London Painting Prize 2014. In February 2015, her first monograph will be published by Anomie Publishing, featuring newly commissioned essays by Michele Robecchi, Ben Quash, and Marina Cashdan.


Music and Theology Colloquia
31 January, 28 February and 28 March 2014

organCo-hosted by ASK and the Westminster Abbey Institute

The public making of music in our society happens more often in the context of chapels, churches and cathedrals than anywhere else. The command to sing and make music to God makes music an essential part of the DNA of Christian worship.

This series of colloquia hosted jointly by the Westminster Abbey Institute and the Centre for Arts and the Sacred at King’s College London (ASK) will foster a high-quality interdisciplinary conversation between music and Christian ideas, drawing in the expertise of musical practitioners, musical theorists, and theologians. Each colloquium will run over a whole day with papers from two speakers and plenty of opportunity for discussion. The sessions will ask questions about the content, the contexts, and the performance of music.

Revolutions in how music is understood, composed and performed have paralleled revolutions in the way we think about the universe and our very place in it. Once, as Daniel Chua argues, music was thought of as like a taut string connecting earth and heaven; now music has ‘tumbled from the stars’. Yet, as arguably the most abstract, philosophical and emotionally-affecting art form there is, it remains a source of fascination, and one to which religious language is still often applied.

Is music above meaning and morality? Are some pieces of music more sacred, or spiritual, than others? Did something go terribly wrong in our culture when we started to let ideas of ‘high art’ affect the way we valued participatory, community-based performance – and thus forgot something about what music in worship is meant to serve?

All of these questions are of daily relevance to the Church as well as to many in wider society.

The symposium will take place in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey on Friday 31 January, Friday 28 February and Friday 28 March, 2014, starting at 10:30 and finishing in time for Evensong at 17:00 in the Abbey church.

The titles of each day’s discussion are as follows:

1. Music and Participation: How involved should a worshipper get? Prof Gordon Graham and Fr Anthony Ruff, Chair: Dr Andrew Carwood – Friday 31st January 20142. Musical Promiscuity: Can the same music serve sacred and profane ends equally well? Rev Lucy Winkett and Prof John Butt, Chair: Dr James O’Donnell - Friday 28th February 20143. Christ the Song of God: is music absolute? Prof Daniel Chua and Prof David Bentley Hart, Chair: Prof Ben Quash - Friday 28th March 2014


Please note that places are extremely limited. To book a place please contact Catherine Butler on 020 7654 4805 or 

The Sacred City: London, art and the religious imaginary 
7-11 July 2014

bigben12th international ACE conference, London, UK

Co-hosted by ACE and ASK

William Blake famously hoped to see “Jerusalem builded here” in London.  But he was hardly the first or the last creative mind to imagine a new metropolis.  In the days after the Great Fire of 1666, Christopher Wren, the great architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, drafted a bold, utopian design for the City of London that was never realized. The performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah  is an annual London tradition which began in the composer’s lifetime.  For the novelist Emmanuel Litvinoff, the East London of the late 19th and early 20th Century, all but obliterated during the Blitz, was both a grimy a Jewish ghetto and a Garden of Eden.  In the Lonely Londoners, Sam Selvon gave us the figure of Moses, the leader of a ragtag group of Caribbean immigrants making their way in 1950s London.  More recently, the young British artist Mark Wallinger filmed himself reciting backwards the opening lines of the Gospel of John on the escalator of the Angel tube station.  These are only a few of the various ways in which London has been both the site and subject of the religious imaginary.  In this conference, we invite participants to explore the unique intersections between art and religion in a city which has increasingly become not only a new Jerusalem but also another Mecca, Benares and Amritsar.  

Keynote speakers include Sam Wells, Rector of St Martins-in-the-Fields, and Alison Milbank, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham. 

View the programme (pdf)

Riding the Tide: A Life of Faith in the World of Fashion
3 April 2014

An evening to share the journey behind a new book celebrating 15 favourite Psalms, with writer, singer and senior fashion industry executive Simon Ward.

St James Church
St James Lane
Muswell Hill
London N10 3DB

Thursday 3 April 2014
19:30 - 21.30


See further information on the event poster

Why do so many Jewish artists like creating works for churches?
9 April 2014

Lecture by Dr Aaron Rosen at the Art and Sacred Places Annual General Meeting

9 April, 6-8pm Room K0.18, King's Building, Strand Campus, Kings College London.

Dr Rosen will survey some of the most intriguing Jewish church commissions, including those by Lipchitz, Chagall, Epstein, Rothko and Nevelson.

Non-members are welcome. There will be a small entry charge (£2.50-£5)


3rd Curator Roundtable
10 February 2014

Discussion of the Jameel Prize Exhibition @ the V&A

Monday 10 February, 19.00-20.00
Room K-1.56 (Lower Level, King’s Building)
Strand Campus, King’s College London


Middle Eastern art and music
Turkish politics
Islam in Britain


Tim Stanley (Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum)

Salma Tuqan (Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum)

Reedah El-Saie (Director, MICA Gallery)

Martin Stokes (Music, King's College London)

Aaron Rosen (Liberal Arts & Theology, King's College London)

2nd ACE-KCL Artists' Talk
20 March 2014

James Hugonin on Art and the Sacred

Further information on the artist can be seen on the Ingleby Gallery website

Thursday 20 March
St John's Church, Pitfield Street, Hoxton, London N1 6NP

Benedict Romain on 'Current Projects'
24 March 2014

Benedict Romain Adam 2012Benedict Romain, 2013-14 Visiting Artist for Art and the Sacred at King's (ASK) will speak on:

"Current Projects: A Sculpture of F.D. Maurice for King's and The Invention of Ritual at the London Jewish Museum"

(Photo: Benedict Romain, Adam, 2012)

Monday 24 March
VWB Room 6.06 (Virginia Woolf Building)
22 Kingsway
King's College London

2nd Curator Roundtable: Saints Alive at the National Gallery


29 October 2013
K-1.56, King's Building, Strand Campus

  • Colin Wiggins (Curator, National Gallery)
  • Ben Russell (Curator, Science Museum)
  • Sarah Salih (English)
  • Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe (Classics)
  • Aaron Rosen (Liberal Arts & Theology) 
11 November 2013, 7:00-8.30
Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s College London
Friday Saturday Sunday:  The Future of Multi-Faith Space
Presentation by architects Dan Leon, Matthew Lloyd, & Shahed Saleem, with responses from prominent clergy
A presentation and conversation about a proposal for a unique building: a single enclosure containing a church, synagogue and mosque.  Could such a building be built? Where? How? What are the key questions– theological, social, and aesthetic – which the project raises? Religion is difficult and complex - but just as there is a history of conflict between faiths, there is also a greater history of tolerance and coexistence.
19 November 2013, 5.30 – 7
David Lewis, Collector’s Talk
We welcome David Lewis, whose family have assembled what is one of the most exceptional private collections of Old Master paintings anywhere in the world: the Schorr Collection. The full catalogue is due to be published in January 2014. David Lewis agreed to come and give us a rare insight into this collection, by talking about a select group of the religious paintings that especially interest him: the images of St Jerome.
26 November 2013, 6.30-8.30
Susie Hamilton, Artist’s Talk
Susie Hamilton is a highly acclaimed figurative painter represented by the Paul Stolper Gallery whose work is in the Methodist Art Collection as well those of Deutsche Bank and Bernard Jacobson. In her talk, she will relate her work to ideas of nature, art and God.
An event hosted by Art & Christianity Enquiry (ACE) and the Centre for Arts and the Sacred at King’s (ASK)
St Mary-le-Strand, opposite the front entrance of King’s College London’s Strand Campus, by kind permission of the Churchwardens.
28 November 2013, 2 – 4
Marilynne Robinson and Francis Spufford
Co-hosted with Theos
A special seminar with the acclaimed North American novelist Marilynne Robinson (author, among other things, of Gilead) and the British writer Francis Spufford (author, among other things, of the fiery recent defence of Christianity Unapologetic). 


17 April 2013 
1st Curator Roundtable:  Light Show at the Hayward Gallery

King's College London, Strand Campus

  • Cliff Lauson (Curator, Hayward Gallery)
  • Riccardo Sapienza (Physics)
  • Joan Taylor (Theology)
  • Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe (Classics)
  • Aaron Rosen (Liberal Arts & Theology)

22 April 2013
Workshop on Interfaith Architecture

King’s College London

28 May 2013
Hosted meeting of the London Jewish Artists Salon
King’s College London 

13 June 2013 
Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin 
Co-hosted with  Art and Christian Enquiry (ACE) 
The Council Room, King’s College London

Past exhibitions & performances

01 May – 22 July 2013
Illuminating Objects: German Miniature Picture Bibles, Courtauld Gallery, London
Josephine Neil (King's), doing doctoral work under the supervision of Ben Quash, was invited by the Courtauld Gallery to curate the first of their series of exhibitions entitled Illuminating Objects. Illuminating Objects is a changing programme of small focussed displays that aims to shine new light on unexpected items from the decorative arts and sculpture collections.

Josephine focussed on a miniature German picture Bible in two volumes: Dess Alten Testaments Mittler and Dess Neuen Testaments Mittler, produced by two sisters from Augsburg in the late seventeenth century. The two books were most probably designed for use in private devotion.

30 September – 13 October 2013
Urban Dialogues 2013, Red Gallery, Rivington Street, London

A collaboration with the organization 3FF (Three Faiths Forum) on their public arts programme Urban Dialogues. Since 2010, Urban Dialogues has annually commissioned three new collaborative artworks by groups of artists. The groups must include artists from different religious traditions, and/or combine artists who have religious beliefs with artists who are non-religious. The commissions give artists an opportunity to collaborate across their differences, drawing on their diverse backgrounds and disciplines in a process of sharing and dialogue.

In 2013, King’s hosted the selected artists for a day, giving them opportunities to shape and refine these ideas further by engaging with the perspectives of academics from a wide variety of disciplines. Certain academics then chose to continue to work with the artists they met during the afternoon, as partners in the artistic collaborations

Details of the event, and the process, can be found here.

Interviews with Aaron Rosen and Ben Quash can be viewed here.

Past lectures, seminars & conferences


19-21 October, 2012 - Aaron Rosen, Organizer and Chair for Visual Arts Panel, International Society for Religion, Literature & Culture Biennial Conference

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

17 November 2012 – Ben Quash, Is One Place More Spiritual than Another? Sticking Points and Sticky Places
Paper at Art in Sacred Spaces Study Day at the National Gallery, London

14 March 2013 - Ben Quash, God’s Good Order and the Artist’s Patterns
Gresham College, London: 

03 February, 2013 - Aaron Rosen, Organizer and Chair for Picturing the Holocaust Study Day
Speakers:  Dr Margie Tolstoy, Naomi Gryn (author and filmmaker), Dr Anne Webber (Co-Chair of Looted Art Commission)
Department of Continuing Education, Oxford

06 May 2013 – Aaron Rosen, Ways of Seeing & The Social Context of Religious Art
Lecture to ordinands for course on art and religion organized by Art and Christianity Enquiry.
Ripon College, Oxford

14 May 2013 – Margot Fassler, Hildegaard and the Virtues: the Musical and the Visual in the Ordo Virtutem
Co-hosted by ACE and ASK
ACE/Mercer’s Book Award Lecture, Council Room, King’s College London.
Margot Fassler is Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music, History and Liturgy and Co-Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program, University of Notre Dame, and formerly Director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. She won the ACE-Mercer’s International Book Award for 2011-12 for her book The Virgin of Chartres.

15 May 2013 – Aaron Rosen - People of the Image:  Art and Interfaith Dialogue in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Lecture for a joint seminar series run by LSE’s Methodology Department and the London College of Communication.
London School of Economics

28 May 2013–Aaron Rosen, Obsessed with R.B. Kitaj
Lunchtime gallery talk in conjunction with the Jewish Museum’s major Kitaj retrospective.
Jewish Museum London

24 June  2013 – Aaron Rosen, Making Space for the Other:  New Developments in Interfaith Design.
Guest lecture for a course organized at the V&A by Joseph Watson of the National Trust.
Victoria & Albert Museum, London

05 June 2013 – Ben Quash, The Art of Shared Spaces: Where is the Social Value?
JustShare Lecture, St Mary-le-Bow, London

11 June 2013 – Ben Quash, God and the Encyclopedia: Theological Developments at the Time of Rameau 
Plenary Paper at the O/Modernt Festival of music and ideas, Confidencen, Stockholm, Sweden.

13 September 2013 - Aaron Rosen, ‘Black-Black Witness’:  Ad Reinhardt, Thomas Merton, and the Via Negativa
The Power of the Word Conference, University of Gdańsk, Poland

04 November 2013, 11:00 – 13:00
Professor Paul Hills, Clothing the Image
The distinguished scholar of Christian devotional art in the Renaissance, Professor Paul Hills, Professor Emeritus at the Courtauld Institute, London, will be giving a one-off seminar at the National Gallery, especially for King's students. It will be entitled ‘Clothing the image: furnishing the altar and the practice of private devotion’.

12 November 2013, 19:30-20:30
Dr Aaron Rosen, Artistic Responses to Abraham
JW3, London
Calls for interfaith dialogue usually begin by insisting that what binds Jews, Christians, and Muslims together is their common identity as “People of the Book”. Despite common assumptions to the contrary, these faiths are also people of the image. Taking modern images of Abraham as our test case, we’ll look at how art might function as a tool for dialogue between the Abrahamic religions.

27 November 2013, 17:15
Professor Milette Gaifman (Yale University): ‘Divine libations: mimesis, medium, motion’

King's College London (Strand Campus, room K4U.12)
There will be wine after the seminar, and participants are warmly invited to dinner with the speaker.
For more information about this and other related seminars in 2013-2014, which all address the theme of 'Medium and mimesis in Classical art'.

03 December 2013, 19:30-20:30
Dr Aaron Rosen, Jews in Abstraction
JW3, London
Before he was a famous Abstract Expressionist, painter Mark Rothko was Marcus Rothkowitz from Dvinsk, whose father hoped he’d become a rabbi. Philip Guston was originally Philip Goldstein, whose parents came to America from Odessa.  Many of the greatest abstract painters of the mid-century were Jewish. Why does it matter? From Barnett Newman’s Kabbalah inspired ‘zip’ paintings, to Rothko’s Chapel, to Guston’s ‘golems’, this lecture will explore how these artists’ Jewishness influenced their lives and works in subtle, often unexpected ways.


23 September 2011 – Ben Quash, Epiphanies in Paint
Paper at Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces Before 1500 Study Day at the National Gallery, London

2-5 March 2012 - Ben Quash, Art as a Theological Medium: An Integration Seminar
Biola University, USA; Year of the Arts:

2-5 March 2012 - Ben Quash, What Space Can Show Us About God
Biola University, USA; Year of the Arts:

30 March 2012 - Ben Quash, The ‘Desublimation’ of Modern Art: A Theological Task?
Gresham College, London

June 26 2012 – Aaron Rosen, The Changing Face of Abrahamic Hospitality, for Tradition and Transition in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Cultures,
Open University of Israel/Woolf Institute Conference, Cambridge, University of Cambridge

27 June 2012 – Aaron Rosen, Emmanuel Levinas and the Hospitality of Images
Plenary lecture for colloquium on Regarding the Other in Modern Judaism with Professors Agata Bielik-Robson and Melissa Raphael
Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge


11 May 2011 – Ben Quash, Post-performance panel discussion of the premiere of the Opera Clemency (Composer: James MacMillan; Libretto: Michael Symmons Roberts)
Royal Opera House, chaired by the Revd Richard Coles. The opera is based on the Genesis account of the visit of three angelic figures to Abraham and Sarah.

8 June 2011 - Ben Quash, Beyond the Eye of Reason: Response to Keynotes
A dialogue on the role of religion in contemporary art, sponsored and organised by Difference Exchange, the Culture Capital Exchange, and St George’s House, Windsor.

20 July 2011 – Miró Dialogue
Co-organised with ACE and the International Association of Art Critics to coincide with Tate Modern’s exhibition Miró: The Ladder of Escape.

The Reliance pub, Hoxton.

Chaired by Ben Quash, with papers by Ayla Lepine, Andrew Brighton, Charles Pickstone and George Pattison.


12 June 2008 – Ben Quash, Art, Faith and Conflict
London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange One-Day Conference on Culture and Consequence: The Role of Ethics in the Arts Today.

24 January 2009 - Icons of the absence of God: A symposium on Rothko and spirituality
King's College London, co-organised with ACE. To coincide with a major exhibition of Mark Rothko’s work at Tate Modern, this symposium critically reviewed different interpretations of these works, and how they speak to their social and cultural context, from the perspectives of cultural history, neuro-science, art history and theology.

Chaired by Ben Quash, with papers by:

  • Aaron Rosen, Finding Rothkowitz: The Jewish Rothko
  • Jonathan Harris, Mark Rothko's good paintings about nothing
  • Daniel Glaser, Can neurobiology tell you how you feel about a picture?
  • George Pattison, After an end: unsaying painting

Transcripts of some of the papers are available.

15 June 2009 – Ben Quash, Post-performance panel discussion of the Opera Parthenogenesis  (Composer: James MacMillan; Libretto: Michael Symmons Roberts)

Royal Opera House, chaired by Germaine Greer.

15 September 2009 – Ben Quash, The Desublimations of Christian Art
Paper delivered to the Tate Britain conference, The Sublime in Crisis? New Perspectives on the Sublime in British Visual Culture 1760–1900

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