Exploring Ando’s Space: Art and the Spiritual presented ways in which material objects serve as conduits to immaterial realms of experience. The exhibition explored the nature of belief, faith, ritual, and aesthetics through artifacts and art objects juxtaposed to provoke cross-cultural and trans-historical comparisons. The works derived from different contexts—secular and religious, non-western and western, contemporary and historical. Working from architect Tadao Ando’s premise that the Pulitzer is “a space for the contemplation of art and the cultivation of spirit,” the exhibition aimed to encourage personal views on spirituality and to recognize those experiences that shape individual approaches to works of art and the spaces that they inhabit.
The installation reflected a wide range of cultures, objects, and eras—from an eighth century manuscript page of the Koran and ancestor poles from Papua New Guinea to Pablo Picasso’s Woman in Yellow and a sculpture made of white marble and rice by contemporary artist Wolfgang Laib. By embracing an expansive definition of the spiritual, the exhibition sought to inspire new ways of thinking about our relationships with art, ritual, and community.
Art and the Spiritual was also part of a wider initiative entitled “Beyond the Material,” which linked the Pulitzer’s exhibition with others organized by institutions in Grand Center and throughout St. Louis, including the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, the Sheldon Art Galleries, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. This collaboration established connections between diverse themes within the category of the spiritual and encouraged contact among the people who look to public spaces for inspiration.