In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Loyola University Museum of Art brings us “LUMA at 10! Greatest Hits,” an eclectic mix of works from past exhibitions tied together by LUMA’s mission to, in the words of cultural affairs director Pamela E. Ambrose, “examine the arts across all cultures engendered by faith, religion, and spirituality.”
The centerpiece of this exhibit is no doubt Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds, returning to LUMA after a very popular run in 2008. Originally produced in 1966 in collaboration with engineer Billy Kluver, the piece is composed of large, helium-filled balloons of silver plastic film that are allowed to float around a spacious room. The effect is both whimsical and serene, giving the participant a feeling of lightness as though suspended in a sky of clouds.
The works on display span all manner of media including watercolor, sculpture, and photography. Subject matter ranges from well-known biblical and spiritual figures (Job, Buddha) to anonymous people in everyday life to landscapes of religious centers and hubs of industry. Marc Chagall’s striking lithograph Job in Despair and Rosalee O. Isaly’s poignant silkscreen 9/11 haunted my thoughts days after I viewed them.
It’s remarkable that Loyola University, a Jesuit school, so fully embraces a notion of spirituality in art that’s not limited to a single faith, or even to the concept of God. Regardless of background, most anyone should find at least one piece that speaks to him or her on a deeply personal level.