The Acrobatics of the Divine

The Acrobatics of the Divine (detail) by Nathan D. Manna
90′ wide; collage; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.


Nathan D. Manna: The Acrobatics of the Divine

at the Jean McDonough Arts Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
2-20 August 2023

Nathan D. Manna presents The Acrobatics of the Divine, a 90-foot photomontage that explores themes surrounding homoeroticized male bodies, the queer histories of flowers, and sexuality in religious iconography. The work is inspired by the work of Worcester montage artist and Manna’s fellow School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) alumnus John O’Reilly.

Last August, the Worcester Arts Council awarded Manna a grant through funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Rescue Plan Act to pursue a project researching O’Reilly and synthesizing that research into artwork. The resulting work takes inspiration from O’Reilly’s use of religious iconography, deconstruction of time, self-portraiture, and thematic exploration of Western queer and gay history, and pairs it with Manna’s research into the queer history and symbolism of flowers.

The Acrobatics of the Divine (detail) by Nathan D. Manna
90′ wide; collage; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Nathan D. Manna currently splits their time between Worcester and Chicago, where they are a Master of Fine Arts student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They are a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, where they earned a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies (self-designed interdisciplinary major), and Uxbridge High School, where they attended the Gateway to College Program at Quinsigamond Community College. Manna is well-regarded in Worcester as a queer activist known for their work on-campus at Holy Cross and off, where they served as the Chair for Worcester Youth Pride and the Parade Director for Worcester Pride and spent two summers interning at the Massachusetts State House working on civil rights and LGBTQIA+ legislation. You can find them on Instagram at @nathandmanna and

(text adapted from material provided by the artist)


PopUp Gallery
Jean McDonough Arts Center

20B Franklin Street
Worcester, Massachusetts 01608 USA
(508) 413-5622

Wednesday-Sunday, Noon-4PM