Exhibitions | Exhibitions To the South

Rend the Heavens: Intersections of the Human and Divine at BYU Museum of Art

September 13, 2019 – December 31, 2021
Believers across many faiths feel that there are circumstances, both privately and globally, when the Divine engages with humankind or individuals are brought into an awareness of a higher power. This exhibition explores artistic interpretations of such moments, particularly in the Judeo
-Christian tradition.
The exhibition, which opens on September 13, 2019, will feature dozens of masterworks from of the BYU Museum of Art permanent collection, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints.
Eight new museum acquisitions will also be included in the exhibition. Curator Ashlee Whitaker drew inspiration for the exhibition from the upcoming 200th anniversary of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which will be commemorated in 2020. She explained, “We want to expand the discussion beyond just that moment or the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and evidence the impact of belief in the Divine in a broader way.”
Rend the Heavens explores this idea in four sections ranging from familiar religious narratives to seemingly ordinary events that could invite profound spiritual experiences. Whitaker explained, “In curating the exhibition, I was drawn to scriptural or traditional stories of divine engagement, as well as ideas of mediation (or redemption) through the Divine, certainly; but I also want visitors to consider how life’s experiences, like parenthood or death, and practices like personal worship also bring communion.”
This broader dialogue of the connection between human and Divine allowed for a wider range of images to be included. Artworks in the exhibition range from the 17th century to contemporary pieces, by such artists as Minerva Teichert, Maynard Dixon, C.C.A. Christensen, Dorothea Lange,
Frans Schwartz, Norman Rockwell, Rembrandt, and others.
In keeping with the exhibition themes, the exhibition is designed to invite visitors to participate in “slow looking” and to foster mindful, meditative experience within the gallery. Whitaker commented, “We have designed Rend the Heavens to be an experience that helps each of us slow down and consider our ability to invite connection with something greater than ourselves.”
The exhibition will be on view through December 2021.
More information about the exhibition and related programming can be found online

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