Heaven + Hell plus the self-taught artist

The Heaven + Hell exhibition will be ending soon on June 30th at two smaller art museums in Chicago, the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) and the Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.

Beginning in Heaven seems appropriate, but starting in Hell would be more fun! To see Hell first venture to the Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art on Milwaukee Avenue. When first walking in devils greet you with their wide toothy grins and along the walls you will find the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and other ending of time images. Many artists are featured in both exhibitions such as William Blayney, Ronald Cooper, and Norbert Kox. William Blayney a Pentecostal preacher uses the Book of Revelations imagery to teach and Ronald Cooper, a car accident survivor uses found objects and phrases to aid in his recovery of severe depression. These two along with another favorite Norbert Kox bring three slighty different views of hell: the end of times, the devil in self reflection, and of that the true Christ has yet to appear and all other images are evil entities based solely upon the history of Paganism rather than Christ (Norber Kox).   If you are looking for satanic and the Anti-Christ look elsewhere. Here good always out weighs evil!

At the Heaven exhibit our three artists from the Hell exhibit appear. Here Norbert Kox paints a priest with a red robe, octopus tentacles, bird talons for feet, and burning red heart with the Bible verse of Jude 4-19 above the man. In Jude 4-19  the Bible sites to caution against false believers and keeping with the false Christ theme, Kox again uses very vivid imagery to captivate his audience. Although, many angels do appear in the exhibit probably over 100 if you wanted to make a game of it; one artist alone seems to embody the calm and serene feeling of  heaven in his work, Howard Finster. His three works Cathedral in HeavenHeaven’s Mailbox #2192 from paradise garden, and House of Gold #1000.271 have all the glitz and shine of a human’s ideal heaven.  You can stare and be amazed in absolute silence it feels that good! The Heaven exhibit touches on the central themes of the righteous and humble while Hell looks at the darker aspects of Christianity.

The whole exhibition is a seamless movement between heaven and earth and earth and hell and somewhere in between us humans learn to live and love. To find out the hours and admission prices check out CMB”s Chicago Museum Guide tab to the left of your browser!

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