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
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
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