Adrian Kellard: Marking 20 Years

November 14, 2011, is the twentieth anniversary of artist Adrian Kellard’s death. This significant date, along with the 30-year anniversary of the identification of HIV as the virus that causes AIDS, was in our consciousness as we planned the exhibition Adrian Kellard: The Learned Art of Compassion.

One way to mark an anniversary is to share memories and stories of the deceased. Recently MOCRA’s Director, Terrence Dempsey, S.J., was joined by Kellard’s dear friend Regina DeLuise and his gallery dealer, Susan Schreiber, to look back at the artist’s life and legacy. All three knew him well, and the ensuing conversation elicited stories both humorous and poignant. This conversation was recorded and is available to the public through the MOCRA Voices podcast. You can stream or download the audio from the MOCRA website, or if you like, subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.

However, in a sense Kellard’s story continues to unfold as new audiences discover his work through the MOCRA exhibition. One of Kellard’s sisters attended the opening in September and brought with her a small journal that served as the guest book for the last exhibition prior to his death, in October 1991. She asked if we might make the book available to our visitors as well.

Guest book for Adrian Kellard exhibition.
Guest book for Adrian Kellard exhibition.

Glancing through the book, I’m struck by one of the last entries from 1991, written by Jed Devine, who organized that exhibition:


Thank you for the most powerful and beautiful show we have had in this space. You are magnificent.

It is followed on the next page by the first entry from 2011:

This is truly one of the best exhibits MOCRA has done. … Truly REMARKABLE!!!

His work seems to elicit comments from deep places in many visitors. Here are a few excerpts from the past month-and-a-half:

Thank you for loaning me your eyes through your art — you have refreshed me and renewed my faith and spirituality. Your death has been transformed into gift that allows me to draw close and be instructed by your heart.


Wonderfully evocative and sensually intelligent reflections of faith and identity. The dimensions of shape and use of color really make my heart sing and inspire deep reflections.


The works of God have been made manifest in you, Adrian. Thank you for opening your life and faith to the world through such compassion, beauty, and truth.

We invite you to come and see the exhibition, and if you are so moved, to add your own words to this small testament to the impact of one artist whose work is a manifestation of a life lived with remarkable integrity, focus, creativity, and compassion. In the words of another visitor:

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

–David Brinker, Assistant Director

New on MOCRA Voices: Adrian Kellard podcast

MOCRA Voices logoEarly this year we launched MOCRA Voices, a podcast series of conversations with thinkers and practitioners at the intersection of contemporary art, religion, and spirituality. Our aim is to take listeners in-depth with artists, scholars, theologians, religious leaders, and others who are engaged in the ongoing dialogue between visual art and the religious and spiritual dimensions.

We’ve just posted a new episode that focuses on the art and life of Adrian Kellard, the subject of MOCRA’s current exhibition, Adrian Kellard: The Learned Art of Compassion. Host John Launius and MOCRA Director Terrence E. Dempsey, S.J., are joined by Regina DeLuise, a close friend of Kellard and an artist photographer in her own right, and Susan Schreiber, Kellard’s New York gallery dealer. Dempsey, DeLuise, and Schreiber share stories of Kellard that serve to illuminate his artistic aims and influences, his distinctive visual style and treatment of his woodcut medium, and the ways in which Kellard’s upbringing, sexual orientation, and faith found expression in his work.

In addition to the podcast itself, we’ve prepared an extensive listening guide that provides context about the East Village art scene, the early years of the AIDS pandemic, the art of woodcuts, and more.

MOCRA Voices is made possible with financial support from the Regional Arts Commission.

–David Brinker, Assistant Director

If you could ask artist James Rosen a question, what would it be?

Did you visit MOCRA’s recent exhibition James Rosen: The Artist and the Capable Observer and come away with questions about Rosen’s techniques, subject matter, or intentions? Perhaps your interest has been piqued by posts here on the MOCRA blog or the recent interview on the “Iconia” blog.

Since circumstances prevented James Rosen from visiting St. Louis during the exhibition, we are going to record a conversation between Rosen and MOCRA Director Terrence Dempsey, S.J., this coming week of February 20, 2011. If all goes well, we plan to make the conversation available through our website. We already have a number of questions we want to ask Rosen, but we would like to include one or more questions from our audience.

If you have a question you would like to ask James Rosen about his work, please e-mail it to us, post it on our Facebook wall, or call us at 314-977-7170. Please make your question as specific as possible, and include your first name and last initial, as well as your location. Questions must be received by Thursday morning, February 24.

We cannot guarantee that all questions will be used in the interview, but will include as many as we can. We are excited to be adding a new dimension of artist interaction to our programming, and hope you will consider participating in this experiment.

Find more information and additional links here.

— David Brinker, Assistant Director

Revisiting ‘Cosmic Tears’

As reported previously, last fall MOCRA Director Terrence Dempsey, SJ, and artist Michael Byron talked with John Launius, host of the “Saint Louis Art Map: On the Air” podcast, about the exhibition Cosmic Tears.

Due to technical complications, the interview only recently became available for listening and downloading. This conversation gives insight into Byron’s creative process and the development of the Cosmic Tears works. You’ll also hear Fr. Dempsey talk about MOCRA’s origins in his doctoral research.

“Saint Louis Art Map: On the Air” is a biweekly podcast with interviews and discussions about current and upcoming visual arts events and issues in St. Louis. It is the podcast companion to the Saint Louis Art Map blog.

  • To play the podcast directly in your browser, click here.
  • To hear this and other “Saint Louis Art Map: On the Air” podcasts, or to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, click here.
  • Read the Saint Louis Art Map blog here.

— David Brinker, Assistant Director

On the air with Michael Byron and Fr. Dempsey

Yesterday afternoon I sat in on an interview with MOCRA’s Director, Fr. Terrence Dempsey, S.J., and Michael Byron. We were at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, and host John Launius was recording the interview for the Saint Louis Art Map: On the Air podcast (available on iTunes or as XML).

The conversation was wide ranging, from broad questions about the potential for art to lead the viewer to an encounter with mystery, to specific questions about the genesis of the Cosmic Tears series and the interplay of text and image in Michael Byron’s work. I was particularly intrigued by Byron’s observations about the transition from the solitary environment of the studio to the public display of work in a museum, and the effect the public setting has on the art and the artist, as well as how he sees his work situated in the grand terrain of art history.

The podcast will be available online early next week, and we’ll have links to it from the MOCRA website…but I encourage you to subscribe to the Art Map podcast and stay up-to-date on the contemporary art scene in St. Louis. It’s an important contribution to the St. Louis arts scene, especially given the increasing paucity of print media coverage, and a great complement to the Saint Louis Art Map blog.

Sitting in on the interview whetted my appetite for Michael Byron’s talk at MOCRA on Sunday, November 15, 2009, at 2 p.m. I’m looking forward to hearing him expand on some of his comments from yesterday, and to hear what questions audience members want to pose about his work. More details about the talk are found here. We hope to see you there.

— David Brinker, Assistant Director