Rituals are an integral part of everyday life for cultures the world over. From simple, ordinary actions to more complex traditions, ritual actions and gestures are deeply embedded within the social structures of contemporary society. Rite and Reason features works that reference rituals—religious, ceremonial, or personal—which are informed by vernacular forms of material culture. Although frequently sourced from ancestral traditions, where art is a sacred ritual, and ritual is itself a participatory social event, these rites have been transformed through time into forms and behaviors that have acquired new layers of meaning. Through symbolic imagery and the representation of ancient rituals still practiced today, the works in this exhibition remind us that the influence of these practices extends well beyond the ceremonial to encompass all aspects of daily life.

Rite and Reason is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Assistant Curator.