Photo: Jesse Robert Coffino

Current Exhibitions

Stations of the Cross: Art, Passion, Justice
February–April 2018
* There will be limited access to this exhibition from March 7–15.

This exhibition, displayed at fourteen iconic spaces across Manhattan, examines the Stations of the Cross and the figure of Christ on the day of his crucifixion through the lens of contemporary art. In the work on view at the Cathedral, Station Four: Jesus Meets His Mother, artist Dua Abbas draws upon European devotional art, especially medieval paintings in The Cloisters collection in New York. Her cut-out animation combines this iconography with original photographs of her family members observing mourning rites during the Islamic month of Muharram, including decorative materials used in the construction of a commemorative model, or Tazia. During Muharram, Shiite Muslims commemorate the seventh-century martyrdom of the Imam Husayn ibn Ali (grandson of the Prophet) at Karbala in modern-day Iraq.

The artist comments: “I was interested in similarities between the figures of Mary (mother of Jesus) and Fatima (mother of Husayn) and the cultures of remembrance that have developed around the sufferings of their sons. I have tried to explore themes of maternal devotion, travel and transformation, and the fluidity of faith and its expression.”

Channels of Grace: Selected Icons from the Cathedral

This exhibition from the Cathedral’s permanent collection highlights icons, which reflect the connectedness of the earth, human beings, and God through their materials and style. Since the sixth century A.D., from when the oldest known icons date, a continuum of style has enabled and empowered the icon to serve as a channel of divine grace and conduit for devotion. Like close translations of original texts, icons are based on a primary prototype. Unlike other forms of devotional art, icons are made to adhere as closely as possible to the prototype, from which they derive their power. Centuries of good copying have led to the highly specific, recognizable style associated with icons. Distinct blocks of color, saturated pigments, and gold leaf detailing are among the stylistic elements that make icons pop and shimmer, but their significance transcends beauty.