Symposium on "The Future of Christian Art"

Oct 20, 2022
Social Sciences, Room 122
1126 E 59th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Stephen Fields, SJGeorgetown University

Karin KrauseUniversity of Chicago

John David MooneyChicago-based Visual Artist

Is there a future for Christian Art? Can beauty save a “modern” world? This symposium features a presentation by Fr. Stephen Fields, SJ (Georgetown) in which he distinguishes between modernity and previous periods of the Western Christian experience and draws upon the work of Hans Urs von Balathasar to argue that Christians must reconceive the meaning of “beauty.” Responses will follow from University of Chicago art historian Karin Krause and Chicago Artist John David Mooney. 

This event is being supported by funds from the Fr. Paul V. Mankowski, S.J. Memorial Fund for Jesuit Scholarship. Fr. Paul, former Jesuit Scholar-in-Residence for the Lumen Christi Institute and trained biblicist, was also a humanist with wide ranging interests in art and literature. You can learn more about the fund and Fr. Paul's life and legacy here.

This event is free and open to the public. This event is cosponsored by the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. This event will be recorded. Contact us with any questions.


Current students and faculty are also invited to a master class with Fr. Fields on Friday, October 21, entitled Clashing over Mysticism: Balthasar and Rahner on Bonaventure. For more information and to register, see the event page.

Stephen Fields, S.J. is the Hackett Family Professor in Theology in Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1993. He holds the PhD from Yale in the philosophy of religion and the STL in fundamental theology from the Weston School of Theology (now the School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College). He has written Being as Symbol: On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner’s Metaphysics (2001), and Analogies of Transcendence: An Essay on Nature, Grace and Modernity (2016), and edited a collection of essays on the thought of Benedict XVI for a special Festschrift edition of Nova et Vetera (English edition) (2017). His articles appear in a range of international journals, both philosophical and theological. His undergraduate students elected him as the twelfth recipient of the Dorothy M. Brown Award for excellence in teaching. He now directs the Lumen Christi Institute’s annual summer seminar for graduate students on John Henry Newman.

Karin Krause is Associate Professor of Byzantine Theology and Visual Culture at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is an art historian who specializes in the Christian visual culture of Byzantium and the pre-modern Mediterranean. Her first book, The Illustrated Homilies of John Chrysostom in Byzantium, published in German, won an award from the Southeast Europe Association (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft). Her most recent book is titled Divine Inspiration in Byzantium: Notions of Authenticity in Art and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2022). Krause’s third monograph, tentatively titled Propaganda, Cult, Scholarship: The Response to Byzantine Artifacts in Venice is far advanced, and builds on her previous publications on the impact of Byzantine culture on medieval and early modern Italy.

John David Mooney is an internationally-recognized Chicago-based sculptor and environmental artist. He is most known for site-specific and large-scale public works, experimenting with light and architecture to transform buildings and public spaces. His work often incorporates elements of local history and engages the intersection of art and the sciences. Those at the University of Chicago may be most familiar with his sculpture Crystara (1984), exhibited in Crerar Library, but his sculptures and installations have been exhibited across the globe, from Downtown Chicago to the Vatican, Croatia and Australia.

Mooney received his MFA from the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, and has taught at the University of North Carolina’s College of Architecture, the University of Southern Indiana, the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, and the Royal College of Art’s Graduate School of Art in London. He has also received honorary doctorates from Purdue University, Dominican University and Lyon College, and has recieved fellowships from institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.​ His work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

He is the founder and artistic director of the John David Mooney Foundation, which opened a Chicago gallery and studio space in 1981 and promotes interdisciplinary discourse through its public exhibitions and programming.