SACRED | Music

Gallery 278

John Lennon learned the hard way that the sacred is sacred. In a 1966 interview, the 26-year-old emerging rock star made the glib remark that his band, the Beatles, were “more popular than Jesus.” The reaction was toxic, sparking anti-Beatles protests from the southern United States to Mexico, South Africa to Spain. It seems preposterous to pit pop musicians and a religious icon in a kind of competition between the secular and the sacred (or religion, in this case) for the love of the public. The Video Lounge, on the other hand, acknowledges a complementary relationship, as music—soothing, inspirational, or simply emotive—has always been a conduit for the sacred, even in cultures presumed to be profane.

—David E. Little, curator of Photography and New Media, in collaboration with Sage Cichock, with thanks to Kristine Clarke, Lisa Shmulyan, and Gustav Honi-Stuenkel