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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Mar01

By Kent Larsen

BYU Museum Exhibit Shows Art in LDS Architecture

PROVO, UTAH -- The BYU Museum of Art opened a new exhibit on the architecture of LDS Buildings on Friday, March 16th, giving visitors a new look at the artistic similarities and differences among LDS buildings. The opening of "Mormon Moderne: New Directions in Latter-day Saint Architecture" included a visit from Bishop Robert H. Burton, presiding bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who spoke about the architecture and about the Church's current building policies.

The BYU Museum of Art exhibit, curated by Paul Anderson, gathers together original designs and drawings, photographs, woodwork, stained glass windows, carved stonework and even part of the church's display from the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, all assembled from the archives of the LDS Church, the Church's Museum of Church History and Art, the Utah Historical Society, as well as University and private donors. Covering Church architecture from 1890 to 1955, it identifies several styles of architecture among LDS chapels, including classical, prairie and gothic revival styles as well as more modern styles.

Anderson says that at one time the LDS Church was near the forefront of modern architecture. "I hope the members of the church will feel some pride and satisfaction in this part of their cultural heritage," he said. "It reflects on the creativity, imagination and skills of Mormon architects. It expresses their faith." And BYU Museum of Art director Campbell Gray says the exhibit is one of the most ambitious undertaken by the museum, taking 2 1/2 years to assemble. "It is certainly one of the most complex exhibits we've developed," he said.

Bishop Burton told those attending the opening that the buildings constructed before 1950 (about 1,000 buildings), represented a lot to the Church, "Most buildings prior to the 1950s were a great sacrifice ... [this exhibit] is reflective of the sacrifice of each of those buildings." Burton says that the Church expects to build 1,000 this year.

Burton also made clear a little-known policy established by the First Presidency concerning older buildings. "We find that many of these marvelous buildings are no longer needed to house congregations," he said, noting that in the past older buildings have been sold. "Dedicated buildings will no longer be sold," said Burton, describing the new policy. "They will be torn down rather than desecrated."


Church architecture on display at Museum of Art
BYU NewsNet 18Mar01 A3
By Sarah Lane: NewsNet Staff Writer


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