The Spiritual in Modern and Contemporary Art

Register for this Fall 2022 course on the new NYU SPS Academy of Lifelong Learning website.
Conceived to explore the spiritual roots and dimensions of modern and contemporary art, from Theosophy and Buddhism to Judeo-Christian mysticism and Jungian theory, this course presents diverse works by artists ranging from early 20th-century visionaries such as Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian to leading postwar and contemporary artists including Barnett Newman, Agnes Martin, Andy Warhol, Zarina, Robert Irwin, and Danh Vo. Lectures and museum visits will provide insights into these artists' diverse views of spirituality and the ways in which they approached their work as a form of meditation or a spiritual quest. We will analyze the specific inherent qualities many of these works are characterized by, such as stillness, timelessness, and serenity. Furthermore, we will discuss how these works can spark in the viewer a spiritual awareness, or what Ellsworth Kelly called “the rapture of seeing.” Special attention will be given to artist-designed sanctuaries, including Henri Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, France; Mark Rothko’s Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas; and Theaster Gates’ Sanctum in Bristol, United Kingdom. Questions? Contact us at The Center for Applied Liberal Arts (CALA). Email or call 212-998-7289. Fall 2022 tuition is $719.

More details

You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding of how famous artists’ spiritual beliefs influenced their work
  • Familiarity with important works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Knowledge about how art can inspire spiritual awareness in the viewer

Ideal for

  • Art and music enthusiasts
  • Prospective and practicing arts professionals
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.