Michael Prettyman

Michael Prettyman is an artist and scholar of Eastern Religions. He holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the Harvard Divinity School and teaches on the subject of religion and the arts, Asian Religion and philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. He has been a visual artist for twenty years, with gallery shows in New York City, Hong Kong and Barcelona. He has exhibited paintings, drawings and sculptures at the United Nations General Assembly, The American Museum of Natural History, the Tsvetaeva Museum of Art in Moscow and the National Museum of Art in Almaty, Kazakhstan and has paintings in the permanent collection of each. He has studied the forms of mediation and sacred artmaking in Buddhist and Christian monasteries in Italy, Nepal, India and the United States.

Michael’s scholarly work in comparative religion dovetails with his practice as an artist. He is convinced that the practice of art making is itself a religious activity, as is the viewing of it. He writes, “The sacred, mythological past need not be inaccessible to us- it is at our fingertips because it is within us, and if we can find it we approach our common humanity. It is only through art making I am able understand these realities in a way that has blood and immediacy in it.”


Past Olios with Michael Prettyman


How Shall I Live? The Path of Stoic Joy

Venue: None

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

May 1, 2020, 8 p.m.

I Cannot Do Nothing - The Search for Meaning

Venue: None

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

April 17, 2020, 8 p.m.

Everything Fragile Breaks: Finding Meaning in Black Swan Events

Venue: None

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

April 4, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

Rolling in the Deep: Carl Jung and the Creative Subconscious

Venue: St John's Episcopal Church

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Dec. 6, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Life, Examined: Marcus Aurelius and the Wisdom of the Everyday

Venue: St John's Episcopal Church

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Oct. 7, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

OlioHouse Finale | The Problem with the End of the World

Venue: OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Aug. 24, 2019, noon

The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

Venue: Strand Bookstore

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Feb. 22, 2019, 7 p.m.

A Dog Named Ego

Venue: Strand Bookstore

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

July 26, 2018, 7 p.m.

*Olio Seminar* Break On Through: Creativity and the Mystic Experience

Venue: St John's Episcopal Church

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Feb. 12, 2018, 7 p.m.

Meditations: A Wisdom of the Everyday

Venue: IDIO Gallery

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Sept. 10, 2017, 4 p.m.

*Read-in* Existential Dilemmas & Mysticism: Reframing the Negative and Diving Deep into Suffering

Venue: Chinatown Soup

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

April 23, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

On Civil Disobedience: Resisting the Machine, an American Tradition (Sold Out!)

Venue: IDIO Gallery

Teacher: Michael Prettyman

Jan. 18, 2017, 7:30 p.m.


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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.