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Body of Christ

January 27 – August 21, 2011
Jonathan Prinz and other visitors take in the details of The Harrowing of Hell, an early 17th-century oil painting from Germany or The Netherlands. Photo by J Caldwell.
Gallery view of works by Javier Pérez, including the 2010 sculpture of bronze and parchment resin (foreground) Trans(formationes), and the 2010 work on paper, Mascara Mortuoria (Triptych). Both works were on loan from Blake Byrne, T’57. Photo by J Caldwell.
Gallery view of works by Javier Pérez, including the 2010 sculpture of bronze and parchment resin (foreground) Trans(formationes), and the 2010 work on paper, Mascara Mortuoria (Triptych). Both works were on loan from Blake Byrne, T’57. Photo by J Caldwell.

Body of Christ was an installation in the permanent collection gallery featuring two works by contemporary Spanish artist Javier Pérez. The cruciform hanging of Pérez’s three drawings of a head and two hands alluded to the image of the Crucifixion, while his life-sized bronze and parchment sculpture of a tree transforming into a skeleton form could be seen to reference Christ’s death on the wooden cross. Nancy Hanks Senior Curator Sarah Schroth placed Pérez’s works within the historical context of paintings and sculptures of the Crucifixion from the 12th through the 18th centuries in the museum’s collection. Works ranged from bloody depictions of the tortured body of Christ to Crucifixes showing Christ with his eyes open, a Christ triumphant over death. Body of Christ helped provide an important context for a concurrent installation, called David Wojnarowicz “A Fire in My Belly”: Versions, Debates, Implications, at the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The installation at the Nasher Museum was made possible by Blake Byrne, T’57.

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