Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art



Steve Christensen

Holiness and the Feminine Spirit Takes Center Stage at LUMA

Museum Welcomes the Work of Artist Janet McKenzie


CHICAGO, August 4, 2011 - Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie, an exhibition of 21 paintings depicting Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, opens to the public at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) on Saturday, August 20, 2011. The exhibition will remain on display through October 23, 2011.

Janet McKenzie creates masterful paintings that celebrate all people, particularly women and people of color. In 1999, her painting Jesus of the People won the National Catholic Reporter's competition for a new image of Jesus, and she subsequently received worldwide attention for her unusual interpretation of the image of Jesus. McKenzie has uniquely focused on the Holy Family and the Catholic saints, depicting them as people from many ethnicities and cultures, including Native American, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian.

McKenzie challenges the predominant western interpretation of the Holy Family as blue-eyed and fair-skinned, suggesting that viewers of her work reconsider this standard. American Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori describes in her essay "Epiphany," from the book Holiness and the Feminine Spirit, that McKenzie "invited us into yet another awareness of what it means that Jesus was born of the whole world."

Pamela Ambrose, director of LUMA, stresses the emotional impact of these paintings. "For a city like Chicago, with a large international population, the paintings are reminders that we cannot be ethnocentric in thinking about the icons of the Christian faith."

Public Programs:
All events take place at LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue, unless otherwise noted.

Opening Reception
Friday, September 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Free for LUMA members and Loyola faculty, staff, and students

Veiled Threats: The Image of Women Religious in American Popular Culture
Tuesday, September 27 at 6 p.m.
Free for LUMA members and Loyola faculty, staff, and students

In no other time or place have depictions of women religious been as complex and outrageous as they are in 21st-century America. During this lecture, award-winning documentary filmmaker Bren Ortega Murphy, PhD, from Loyola's School of Communication and Department of Women's Studies & Gender Studies, will explore the range, impact, and possible reasons for this phenomenon.

Unexpected Calling: Artist Janet McKenzie Tour and Book Signing
Tuesday, October 18 at 6 p.m.

Artist Janet McKenzie will lead a tour through her exhibition and give an informal talk, sharing insights into her paintings. She will discuss the ongoing journey with Jesus of the People, a work that has proven to be controversial. McKenzie will also sign copies of her book, Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie, which will be on sale in LUMA's museum shop.

About LUMA
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

Art illuminating the spirit!