A week ago, top leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints directed that all displays in foyers and entryways in the faith’s meetinghouses across the globe be reserved exclusively for artwork that depicts Jesus. They even included a list of 22 paintings for such use.
While the push to focus on Christ won wide praise, some observers questioned the approved pieces, suggesting they lacked gender and cultural diversity while offering only a narrow, Eurocentric vision.
In this week’s show, Utah artist Brian Kershisnik, whose works have become increasingly popular in Latter-day Saint circles, discusses the church’s directive, the difficulties in depicting Jesus, and the role of art in sacred spaces.
Kershisnik says he would like to see the church draw from a wider palette of paintings from across the world and across generations, including pieces that challenge as much as comfort their viewers.