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Death is a universal experience that occupies an important and extensive space in the art historical canon.  Ars Moriendi (the Art of Dying) brings together artists from different backgrounds and artistic traditions to explore ideas about death through their work.  Exhibition Curated by Chauncey Secrist.

Participating Artists:  

John Bell

Chris Bodily

Carel Brest van Kempen

Craig Cleveland

Christian Fox

Dan Cummings

Grant Fuhst

Kendra Hitchcock

Wynter Jones

Amy Jorgensen

Randall Lake

Weston Lambert

Hank Mattson

James Rees

Chauncey Secrist

Kelly Seim

Kenshi Westover

Sri Whipple

Live readings at the reception:

Authors Lance Olsen, Shanan Ballam, Kristin Scott, and Michael McLane will kick off the exhibit opening reception with readings of their poetry and literature and a short discussion of how the notions of death and mortality have played in their work. This event will start at 6:00 PM during the opening reception for the exhibition. 


Lance Olsen is author of thirteen novels, one hypertext, six nonfiction works, five short-story collections, a poetry chapbook, and two anti-textbooks about innovative writing, as well as editor of two collections of essays about innovative contemporary fiction. Olsen is a Guggenheim and an N.E.A. fellowship recipient; and former governor-appointed Idaho Writer-in-Residence. His work has been translated into German, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Finnish, and Portuguese. He has taught at the University of Idaho, the University of Kentucky, the University of Iowa, the University of Virginia, on summer- and semester-abroad programs in Oxford and London, on a Fulbright in Finland, at various writing conferences, and elsewhere. Olsen currently teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors at Fiction Collective Two; founded in 1974, FC2 is one of America's best-known ongoing literary experiments and progressive art communities.


Kirstin Scott is the author of the novel Motherlunge, which won the AWP Prize for the Novel and the Utah Original Writing Competition. Her short stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Sonora Review, Western Humanities Review, PANK, and elsewhere. She works as a medical writer and lives in Salt Lake City with her family. She is currently working on a novel about a gynecologist named Ajax.


Shanan Ballam is the author of the chapbook The Red Riding Hood Papers (Finishing Line 2010) and a full-length poetry manuscript Pretty Marrow (Negative Capability 2013), a semi-finalist for the 2010 Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes, the 2010 May Swenson Award, the 2010 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry, and the 2012 Louise Bogan Award; in 2012 it received first place in the Utah Division of Arts and Museums Original Writing Contest, judged by Sue Walker, former Poet Laureate of Alabama. In 2013, Shanan was appointed to the Utah Arts Council Board of Directors and served a 4-year term.


Michael McLane is the author of the chapbook Trace Elements and is an editor with Sugar House Review and saltfront: studies in human habit(at). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including High Country News, Western Humanities Review, Denver Quarterly, Dark Mountain,, Colorado Review, and The Laurel Review. McLane lives in Salt Lake City, where he serves as director of both the Utah Center for the Book at Utah Humanities and the annual Utah Humanities Book Festival. 

Ars Moriendi: Featuring Paisley Rekdal and Leslie Anne Anderson

Moderated Public Discussion with 2017 Poet Laureate and UMFA Curator

Oct. 22 7:00 PM


Poet and author Paisley Rekdal will discuss her work involving death on Oct. 22 at BDAC.


"Imaginary Vessels" by Paisley Rekdal questions how identity and being inhabit metaphorical and personified "vessels," from blown glass and soap bubbles to skulls unearthed at the Colorado State Mental Institution.

UMFA curator Leslie Anderson_edited.jpg

Poet and author Paisley Rekdal and Leslie Anne Anderson, curator of European, American, and Regional Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Art will visits the Bountiful Arts Center to discuss the representation of death in art and literature on Monday, October 22nd at 7:00 PM. The discussion will be monitored by Rita Wright, Director of the Springville Museum of Art

This event is part of the BDAC's exhibition Ars Moriendi: The Art of Dying, curated by Chauncey Secrist. Ars Moriendi seeks to encourage reflection and thoughtful discussion about the subject of death and how its universality connects us and can encourage empathy and connection between all people.   Anderson and Rekdal will discuss the representation of death in art and literature.  Rekdal will discuss the ways that perspectives on death have influenced her work, particularly a collaborative portion of her book, Imaginary Vessels.

Paisley Rekdal was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Her newest book of poems is Imaginary Vessels, and her most recent work of nonfiction is a book-length essay, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes (2009, 2013), the AWP Creative Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series (2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018), and on National Public Radio, among others. She teaches at the University of Utah, where she is also the creator and editor of the community web project Mapping Salt Lake City. In May 2017, she was named Utah's Poet Laureate.

Leslie Anne Anderson is Curator of European, American, and Regional Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. In 2018 she received the Award for Excellence, Outstanding Exhibition, from the Association of Art Museum Curators for her permanent collection reinstallation American and Regional Art: Mythmaking and Truth-Telling. Before her arrival in Salt Lake City, she was Curatorial Assistant, European and American, Painting, Sculpture and Works on Paper, and the Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she organized the exhibition A Land Enchanted: The Golden Age of Indiana Art, 1877-1902. Leslie also held appointments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen, the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, and the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. For six years, she taught art history courses at Brooklyn College, Parsons the New School for Design, and Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design; and she currently serves as a reader for the Advanced Placement Art History exam.


In support of her research, she received a Fulbright Research Grant and an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship. Leslie has published articles on 18th -, 19th -, and 20th - century European and American art in the peer-reviewed journals Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Journal 18, and Rutgers Art Review. She is Field Editor for West Coast Exhibitions for, a journal devoted to the peer review of art history books and exhibitions.

These events were made possible by Bountiful Davis Arts Center and Utah Humanities.


Award-winning curator Leslie Anne Anderson will discuss the significance of death in art and literature.

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