Other Modern: Basilica of the Queen of All Saints in Chicago

Two of the most promising and prominent of periods of the "Other Modern" are Art Neoveau (ca. 1890-1910 and Art Deco (ca. 1920-1930). In both of these instances we find styles that contained elements within them which tied them back to the 'classical' Western canon of art while simultaneously also containing elements of modernity -- organically grafted onto what came before.  The example of 'Other Modern' I would like to show today is not actually from either of these periods, but it certainly takes its inspiration from them: the Basilica of Queen of All Saints in Chicago.

This particular basilica was established originally as a parish under George Cardinal Mundelein, eventually to be replaced by a gothic revival church designed by Meyer and Cook that was completed in 1960. Only two years later, it was raised to the dignity of a basilica -- a testament to its particular beauty.

The rest of the church is more or less gothic revival in nature, but it is the design of the reredos and apse which sits within the Other Modern context. Let's begin with a great view of the whole basilica:

Here is a closer look at the reredos itself:

Regrettably, I have been unable to turn up a photo of the altar and reredos in its pre-1970 configuration, so if any reader should happen to have one, please do share it. Suffice it to say, however, that we see in this basilica a design that is both 'modern' and traditional at one and the same time. As usual, it demonstrates what modern religious art and architecture could have been by comparison with the rather minimalist and brutalist fashions that were instead so very often chosen in their place.

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