Mithraeum 99, Nov 2-Dec 14, 2014
Site-specific art installation in the crypt
Presented by North Grid Artists’ Projects:
The idea for this show grew from a conversation and a visit to the crypt of the Church of the Intercession. This extraordinary space captivated me. I was immediately interested in curating an art exhibit in the crypt, and proposed the idea to the church. I envisioned a site-specific installation with an individual artist’s work in each archway, and with the work addressing the sacred, private and contemplative nature of this underground space. In the process I discovered that the Church of the Intercession was in its 99th year and so the concept for the show deepened. The number 99, is a significant spiritual number in many religions. It expresses a realized state of perfection and completion, the end of a timeline. In numerology it is associated with the element of gold and pure spirit.
Curious about the origins of this crypt space, I came across the word Mithraeum. Mithraeum, is an adapted cave or cavern found underneath an existing structure, usually a church, and was the precursor to the crypt. Most Mithraea date between 100 B.C. and A.D. 300, and are primarily found in border areas of the Roman Empire. They functioned as a place to gather and worship, and signified a place of passage, both of time and for the journey of the soul. Mithraeum, therefore, was rich with meaning and imagery, and the perfect concept for the show. Mithraeum 99 celebrates this incredible crypt space, the talents of local artists who are connected to upper Manhattan, and the anniversary of the building of The Church of the Intercession.
The church was built by self-taught architect Bertrand Goodhue, and was consecrated in 1914. Goodhue’s many significant buildings include St. Thomas on 5th Ave., and St. Bartholomew on Park Ave., though he considered the Church of the Intercession his master-work and his tomb is found in the main apse of the church. Mithraeum 99, celebrates and acknowledges Goodhue’s contributions to sacred space.
Thanks to Juliet Lowe-Tannis, Tommy Cheng and all the folks at The Church of the Intercession for the use of this beautiful space. Special thanks to Antoon Taghon of Uptown Fine Art Printing Studio for initiating the conversation and helping us execute this show. Thanks also to Eric K. Washington for the historical tour of Trinity Cemetery and Trinity Wall Street for the use of the grounds.
Carla Aurich – Curator
Thanks to all who came for the opening and cemetery tour with Eric K. Washington. Mithraeum 99 is open until December 14th by appointment. Please contact Tommy Cheng, firstname.lastname@example.org for viewing times:
Photos: Michael J. Palma
Elizabeth Terhune Paintings on the west wall of the crypt
Carla Aurich – 99 years, east wall.