Best Museum Exhibit - 2013
"Liber Insularum," Bill Viola's first major U.S. museum survey since 2003, demonstrated the power of art to uplift the spirit. His sprawling video installations at the Museum of Contemporary Art also marked the first time since his 1997 Whitney Museum retrospective that his most important works had been corralled under one roof. At MOCA, Viola's sensory-engulfing installations were inspired by a 15th-century Florentine cleric's tome called The Book of the Islands of Archipelago, which records six lonely years he spent wandering the Aegean. Viola, who typically explores concepts of death and regeneration while embracing both Eastern and Western mystical and spiritual traditions, departed from the cleric's peripatetic wandering to convey his own notion of a conceptual journey across a constantly transforming global landscape. The exhibit transported viewers to a space where universal notions of suffering, joy, and peace combined in a meditative experience of the unconquerable strength of the human soul.