Mega Churches

Exhibit dates: November 5 – December 18, 2009

The exhibition featured a recently completed photography project by Artist Joe Johnson. This selection of photographs is about the Mega Church phenomenon. Mega Churches have inspired thousands of Christian worshippers to gather within vast post-modern architectural spaces across the nation. Megalithic in size, these converted Hilton hotels and restored theaters are transformed into halls of prayer each Sunday through performative rituals and multimedia spectacles. Most definitions require that a minimum of 2000 worshippers must attend the weekend service for the building to attain the “Mega Church” status.

Specifically Joe Johnson photographed the empty interior architecture and sanctuary spaces where worship is performed. He uses the descriptive power of photography to construct a personal vocabulary with which he can communicate what interests him about a subject. Johnson tends to gravitate to subjects that have some inherent tension and mystery. With the Mega Church project, an interesting point of tension lies in a secular treatment of contemporary religious practice within Mega Churches.

Johnson’s photographs attempt to reveal the mechanics of creating faith by capturing the wires, computers, light bulbs, and cords that are used to construct mysteries on stage for the faithful. The rawness of the abandoned mega-space and the eerie familiarity of its commercial fixtures question the intention and business of faith in the 21st century.

Read more about the exhibition in this article by the Charleston City Paper!