The 2011-12 Laurence A. Cummings Lecture on Cultural History
Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral: Urbanism, Phenomenology and the Sacred
September 2, 2012, will mark the tenth anniversary of the dedication and consecration of the much celebrated Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California. It is significant that no other recent ecclesiastical building has been so thoroughly disseminated and critiqued, even
castigated, by people from very different points of view and disciplines.
The lecture sets out to examine how the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels embodies the philosopher Karsten Harries’s twofold claim that the sacred needs architecture and that architecture needs the sacred. This exploration will be approached from a phenomenological reading of the Cathedral, not as an “object” or as a phenomenon within the concept of the “natural landscape,” but in relation to its urban context. The following questions will look to support Harries’ claim: How does the Cathedral placeus in both time and space? How does the Cathedral manifest the paradox
and tension of transcendence and immanence? And finally, how does the Cathedral navigate the movement between exteriority and interiority?
Raised in Goderich, Ontario, and a graduate of Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design, Michael Madden has worked as a Set Designer in the feature film industry since 1995 on such productions as: Good Will Hunting, Blade II, Cinderella Man, Assassination of Jesse James, The Incredible Hulk, and most recently, A Dangerous Method. From 2000-2002, he was Art Director
of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto with Pope John Paul II. He is currently completing a Masters of Art in Religion (Visual Arts Concentration) at the Institute for Sacred Music, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.
This is a new lecture in this series made possible by an endowed fund created by Roger A. Spalding, a former student of Laurence A. Cummings.