Plate Lectures on Blasphemy at Indianapolis Museum of Art

Brent Plate
Brent Plate
Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate recently gave a public lecture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The topic was "Blasphemous Art," which stemmed from Plate's 2006 book Blasphemy: Art That Offends. From Danish cartoons to a chocolate Jesus, from a crucifix submerged in urine to Madonna's musical performances, the visual arts have provoked outrage, censorship, and even violence.

Plate's talk discussed the fact that no work of art is blasphemous in and of itself. Blasphemy needs both an artist and an accuser. The lecture was in conjunction with the IMA's current exhibition "Sacred Spain," which displays the ways visual imagery has been used in religious settings in Spain and Latin America. The images, here as elsewhere, do not serve as mere background to mythical stories, but as images that contain power to move people in their devotion. The IMA hosted a symposium and a series of lectures on the relations of religion and art.
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