Featured Review: Good Friday

Good Friday The second of two group exhibitions celebrating the 15th anniversary of Saint Louis University's Museum of Contemporary Religious Art features work from the permanent collection that explores "the meaning of suffering, death, compassion, and unconditional love" through direct references to Jesus' last day. The show's explicit focus on the Christian tradition challenges the ecumenical spirit of the institution's identity as an interfaith repository, but one can also take the show as a point of departure for broader expression. It's a fine balance — the blend of faith-based inquiry and the secular standards of contemporary art. The show's strongest works mine this unusual context by being visually evocative, spiritually direct and singularly personal: Michael Tracy's monumental Triptych, 11, 12, 13, for instance, and Adrian Kellard's Lovers and Prayer of the Faithful in Ordinary Time. The latter, who died from AIDS in 1991, explores being a "gay man loved by god" in two eccentrically and emotionally wrought painted woodcarvings that move between the traditionally liturgical and explicitly kitsch in a delicate manner that only this space can entirely honor. Through April 26 at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, 3700 West Pine Mall Boulevard (on the Saint Louis University campus); 314-977-7170 or http://mocra.slu.edu. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun.

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