THE CHURCH OF CONTEMPORARY ART
THE CHURCH OF CONTEMPORARY ART / JESSICA ALLEE, STEPHANIE JARDIN, WAGO KREIDER, JAY NEEDHAM & ANGELA WATTERS
The members of The Church of Contemporary Art (CoCA) live and work in Southern Illinois, a Midwest region where religion-based businesses are thriving. In this depressed area, commercial businesses come and go, arts non-profits are fortunate to last a year, and contemporary art galleries are nonexistent. The churches, however, have longevity and extensive real estate holdings. The group was inspired by a visit to the Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. It was there, in the presence of a unique hand-made artifact, that the founding members formed CoCA to bring our message of the good news about art to the masses.
CoCA seeks to bring secular fellowship to cultural workers throughout Southern Illinois and the world, and aids in the development of a critical and innovative practice. Inclusive in nature, the CoCA collective is an on-going art service project that works to provide cultural and economic security to its members while offering self-reflexive and institutional critique in these trying times. We accept members from all disciplines, and encourage interdisciplinarity as a strategy for sustainability. We are what you need. Through performances, sculpture, painting, photography and sound and video installations, CoCA pairs the rituals and relics of religion with the seductive allure of contemporary art. For CoCA, the white cube is a modernist totem we hold sacred and close to our hearts.
Our self-titled service, “The Church of Contemporary Art,” opened the first annual Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival at Defibrillator Gallery in Chicago. Brother Wago Kreider officiated the service. CoCA’s beacon of truth, Stephanie Jardin, offered an inspirational sermon on “These Trying Times.” A redemptive live hymn with video accompaniment on the subject of rejection notices unified the audience through their commonalities. An original soundscape, specially designed for the artistic ear, immersed the congregation, and soothed worried souls who might benefit from CoCA’s advanced therapeutic services. The blessed sacrament of fruity Kool-Aid and cubed marshmallow was partaken by all who needed to belong. Special scripture by Julio Parc, Joseph Beuys, Hans Haake, Marcel Duchamp and Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visual, were part of the rich wisdom imparted to the congregation. The service concluded with a tithing to fund the Ministry of Art.