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The Sacred Lives of Objects

Seeing and Being Seen in the Modern Museum

Objects are not usually thought to possess their own power. Indeed, when people are disempowered we say that they are “objectified.” But everyday objects, as well as objects of devotion, act upon us in powerful ways.

This exhibit seeks to explore the potential for power, movement, and action in devotional objects. We challenge you to remain open to the possibility that objects have complex lives of their own. As you look at them, they might be looking back.

[Objects of Devotion] 

Natalie Gummer and her RLS 210 Religious Studies class curated the "Objects of Devotion Exhibit." Click on the small images to read the sub-themes and view the individual objects.

This exhibit runs through November 10 in the North Gallery.

[Objects of Devotion] 


Can an object invite devotion?

Objects can facilitate transformative relationships for those who recognize their power. Rouault's paintings provoke reconsideration of Jesus’ humanity by rendering him as an abstract, deconstructed man, rather than a lofty and sublime God. The retablo provides testimony to healing miracles, and gives hope to the ill and their loved ones. The Tibetan Thangka beckons viewers to imagine themselves as the Buddha, and thereby to embody his teachings.


Loriann Bork
9 September 2013
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Can an object act without your knowledge?
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Can an object invite devotion?

#1 of 4