With a mixture of irreverence and sincerity, artists John Baldessari and Meg Cranston tackle nothing less than the question of God in this exhibition. Whether or not one believes in God, whether or not we describe ourselves as theists, atheists or even antitheists, we all live in a world that is profoundly influenced by concepts of God and by the notion of “divine authority.” Acting as curators, Baldessari and Cranston decided to create an exhibition about how artists depict God, a show about representation and not necessarily belief. They invited one hundred artists to respond to one of art’s most enduring challenges: to picture the divine. 100 Artists See God features one work by each artist—photographs, drawings, paintings, single-channel videos, and sculptures, many made in response to the curators’ call for participation. While a number of works were created by younger artists active in Los Angeles, many have also come from well-known artists from the West Coast, other parts of the United States, Europe, and Asia.
The exhibition is grouped according to sixteen thematic categories, intended to offer the visitor a preliminary vantage point from which to view the works. With headings such as “Artists See God as the Great Organizer,” “Artists See God as Tyrant,” and “Artists See God as Ineffable,” these groupings span a range of refreshingly diverse approaches to the subject. In many cases, the works reflect idiosyncratic and unexpected viewpoints, while in others the artists make reference to organized religious doctrine and traditional iconography.