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Kiki Smith: Compelled to Pause



The Museum of Biblical Art presents a fresh, contemporary exhibit that brings the world of New York sacred art to Dallas. The exhibit features artist Kiki Smith’s powerful Processional Cross, which is, itself, a new take on classic religious iconography. Commissioned by St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan, Smith went to work on a piece that would draw special attention to Christ’s sublime nature and connection to the spiritual realm. The result is a breath-taking aluminum cross-and-corpus structure wherein Christ’s striated body “floats” toward the heavens. Without losing its ethereal quality, the piece also employs Smith’s hallmark raw and unmasked depiction of the human form.

The Processional Cross is not Smith’s first foray into religious art – she’s sculpted renditions of both Lot’s wife and Mary Magdalene – but it is one of her more tame works. The piece pays apt homage to Christ and his death and is an appropriate, albeit unique, fixture for the modern church sanctuary. St. Peter’s calls the cross “a work of great solemnity,” and MBA Director, Scott Peck, hopes that museum patrons will be “compelled to pause, reflect, and meditate at this visual reminder of Christ’s power over death.”

The exhibit also spotlights St. Peter’s Church – itself a respite in the midst of urban hubbub – but the Cross stands alone. Surrounded on three sides by empty, white walls, this deliberate positioning is designed to inspire reflection and elicit a contemplative mood. When the Cross is not on display in various museums across the county, it is used in services at St. Peter’s during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Museum-goers won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to behold Kiki Smith’s modern religious masterpiece.

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