lyeberry #17

Bad Religion

Joeun Aatchim

Hayley Barker

Carrie Cook

The Good Book Burning Club

Astri Swendsrud

Yi Xin Tong

Ben White


Lyeberry HQ

November 13 - December 11, 2016


A long time ago, at least three millennia, religion was often a local endeavor. Each household of the nomadic tribes criss-crossing modern day Syria possessed their own teraphim, or small household idols. Their deities were thought to inhabit those idols, so the capture or destruction of those idols was a capture of the god itself. The gods were thought to be only effectual for their own households, and even then only in a specific physical location – usually the region where the tribe would spend most of their time.

Out of these localized customs grew a new tradition, the foundation of what is known today as the Abrahamic faiths. This new theology was different from the old practices. These clerics claimed that their god was the most powerful, and would work across all land and for all people. Furthermore, whoever did not worship their god was their enemy by that fact alone. Enemies of this religion were both enemies in this world, and the next. The threat of the unbeliever was so great that non-practitioners were left with two options: either to convert and leave all other traditions behind, or fight. 

This legacy has persisted until today, determining the foreign and domestic policies of most nations. The repercussions affect the lives of every individual alive today, regardless of that person's belief system. At least half of the world’s population identifies as a member of the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. 

Each artist in Bad Religion confronts this inheritance. Some have cast off their own religious traditions, creating new rituals and icons to fit a more personal belief system. Others use their old beliefs as a starting point, creating artwork that imitates and exaggerates in order to point out inherent flaws and contradictions. All of the artists in Bad Religion grapple with their own personal legacy of faith and the often unspoken implications of living in a society still influenced by questions of the supernatural. The artists included in Bad Religion are Hayley Barker, Carrie Cook, The Good Book Burning Club, Joeun Aatchim, Astri Swendsrud, Yi Xin Tong, and Ben White. Bad Religion is curated by Akina Cox.