News Release

Two Exhibitions Open at Church History Museum

Paintings and photography reflect life of Christ, global faith

Two new art exhibitions featuring the talents of several members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are open to the public at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Paintings created by Argentine artist Jorge Cocco Santángelo will be on display from May 17 through October 9, 2018, and large-scale images taken by Church staff photographers Cody Bell and Leslie Nilsson will be on display until January 2019.

Downloadable video: Photographer b-roll | Photographer SOTs | Jorge Cocco Santángel b-roll | Jorge Cocco Santángel SOTs

The first exhibition, titled “Jorge Cocco Santángelo: Sacred Events from the Life of Christ,” includes a series of 21 paintings recently acquired by the Church that depict the ministry of Christ recounted in the New Testament.

“The paintings have a sort of modernist influence, but they're still figurative enough that you can read the biblical story quite easily,” said museum curator Laura Allred Hurtado. “They start with the baptism of Christ and end with the Ascension.”

Hurtado said Cocco’s paintings have been influenced by the countries where he has lived, including Argentina, Spain and Mexico. “His style is called sacrocubism. Essentially the style describes itself. It's taking a cubist-influenced style and pairing it with sacred events.”

Cubism, a 20th-century art movement, is most closely associated with Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

Cocco was raised Catholic, but he and his wife, Myriam Verbauwen, joined the Church in 1962. They are considered Argentine Mormon pioneers because they were the first Latter-day Saint converts in the city of Concepción del Uruguay, Argentina.

The second exhibition, titled “Light and Life: Stories and Photographs of a Global Faith,” features 34 photographs of the everyday lives of Latter-day Saints captured by Bell and Nilsson in 24 countries on six continents in the past five years.

“The highlight for me of being a Church photographer is really meeting the members of the Church in different parts of the world,” said Nilsson, who started photographing general conference and Church events in 2003. “I think Cody and I have probably a different view of the Church than what we did before working for the Church because we visited so many people, really hundreds of families, all over the world, and they're beautiful.”

In addition to documenting the activities of Church leaders and events, Nilsson and Bell have spent countless hours taking pictures of Latter-day Saint families practicing their faith in their homes around the world.

“We don't have to put on this picture-perfect appearance every day,” explained Bell, who has been capturing Church-related images on his camera for the past decade. “We can be OK with who we are and the struggles and trials we have, and there's a Church network to help us.”

The Church History Museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. View the paintings online on the Church History Museum website.

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