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The problem of the sacred in postmodern museum practice : some thoughts on the Rideau Street Convent Chapel in the National Gallery of Canada

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The problem of the sacred in postmodern museum practice : some thoughts on the Rideau Street Convent Chapel in the National Gallery of Canada

Duhamel, Marc (1998) The problem of the sacred in postmodern museum practice : some thoughts on the Rideau Street Convent Chapel in the National Gallery of Canada. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The Rideau Street Chapel in Ottawa was saved from destruction in 1972 when it was declared a heritage site by the Canadian government. The interior of the building was dismantled and placed in storage until it was reconstructed within the walls of Moshe Safdie's National Gallery of Canada in 1988. It is now part of the permanent collection on display in this Museum. This study enquires into the detrimental effects of the institutionalization of objects which form the material base for spiritual belief systems. I argue that the National Gallery denies the original liturgical function of the Chapel by presenting it in a synchronic manner, placing the spiritual potency of the work in suspended animation. I investigate how high art museums, which can be considered modern temples of the dominant culture's secular cult of beauty, appropriate the 'spiritual capital' of such works for their own purposes. Such architectural installations become analogous to relics placed in churches of Medieval Pilgrimage Roads, lending their spiritual/aesthetic aura to pilgrims of our era, namely, cultural tourists.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Duhamel, Marc
Pagination:iii, 94, [4] leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Art History
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Acland, Joan Reid
ID Code:491
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:12
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:14
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