Notes on Spirituality

It's a good art exhibition that raises more questions than it answers. Some of those questions end up in our comment books, the bound black volumes that invite visitor feedback at the end of an exhibition.

The comment book may seem like a retro convention. Social media has ushered in a whole industry dedicated to the capture and sharing of immediate impressions with large groups of people. But comment books have their advantages. Authors can take up as much space as they want, words can be enhanced and intertwined with images, and the flow of comments only moves forward, since remarks can only be seen by those coming to the exhibition after previous visitors have left their mark.

Typical comments include praise or critique for curatorial decisions (we do read all messages), simple proofs of presence ("Jerry was here!"), and drawings from aspiring artists hoping perhaps to be discovered.

Flipping through the books in the exhibition Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art, we found comments that don't fit into any of these categories. It's a thoughtful show, and the responses reflect this. While the exhibition has ended, and you can't write on top of these comments or see exactly what they refer to, they can still serve the purpose of moving conversation forward.


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