Just when you thought the old bugger was dead, God has been making a comeback lately: inciting martyrdom on one side of the geopolitical divide, fixing presidential elections on the other. And as if this wasn't enough, He has also been putting in a reappearance in art. Not since... well, God knows when have artists been more preoccupied with the idea of divinity, of representing the godhead.
That, at least, is the premise of a show called 100 Artists See God at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Curated by American artists John Baldessari and Meg Cranston, the exhibition proposes (and I quote) "an open ended contemplation of highly complex belief systems, religions and, ultimately, perceptions of God". Last heard of in 1960, He is suddenly everywhere; and nowhere more so than in California, where "100 Artists See God" has had two previous showings and where most of its artists (and both of its curators) come from.
Now, think what you will of God, He is generally held to be interesting. So the fact that the ICA's show is almost totally without interest may strike you as saying something about the godless times in which we live, and the cynicism godlessness breeds in artists and curators. For the truth - not a word to be used lightly about this exhibition - is that "100 Artists See God" is cobbled together in its makers' image to prove a point, and that that point is specious.
According to an ICA wall-text, Our Lord's political revanche began on 11 September 2001, His artistic re-emergence following hotly on. Since one of the works in this show - Roy Lichtenstein's Mirror #8 - was painted in 1972 by an artist who died in 1997, God presumably works in ways more mysterious than we had imagined. And many of the other pictures in this show have also …