Today at the Museum
Saturday, December 3, 2022
This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary gift and promised gift of art made by Clevelanders Joseph P. and Nancy F. Keithley to the Cleveland Museum of Art. In March 2020, the Keithleys gave more than 100 works of art to the museum—the most significant gift since the bequest of Leonard C. Hanna Jr. in 1958.
Tales of the City: Drawing in the Netherlands from Bosch to Bruegel is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition featuring rarely seen drawings from the Albertina Museum in Vienna, one of Europe’s oldest and finest collections.
Photographs in Ink explores how artists have responded to the abundance of published photographic images that have saturated our daily lives from the 1850s through the early 2000s. The exhibition presents two intertwined narratives: the use of these processes to widely disseminate images and the adoption of them as content and aesthetic choice by fine artists. These stories are told through historical and contemporary works of art by artists from Eadweard Muybridge and Alfred Stieglitz to Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke, Carl Pope Jr., and Lorna Simpson.
Over the last five years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has acquired works by contemporary Chinese printmakers that are on display here for the first time. By bringing diversity in geography and gender to the museum’s prints and drawings collection, these artists demonstrate the exploration of the print medium in new ways and varied formats. This presentation focuses on the visual and atmospheric effects of light and water.
The current installation looks at the dynamic tension between tradition and innovation in Korean art and this tension’s transformative impacts. The selected paintings illustrate how Korean artists in the early 1900s built on and broke with tradition through new artistic languages and interpretations.
Japanese art underwent major changes with the opening of Japan to international trade in the mid-1800s. Aside from a small number of Chinese residents and a limited trade relationship with the Dutch, Japan had been closed off to interaction with people from other nations since 1639. As a result, its 1854 trade agreement with the United States, rapidly followed by treaties with European nations, generated a seismic shift in Japanese culture. Japan went from being an isolated country operating under a military regime to a country with imperialist ambitions and a representative government almost overnight. Artists who had worked within traditional patronage and workshop systems found themselves competing in a global arena and redefining what it meant to create “Japanese art” in the modern world.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is home to a collection of illuminated Buddhist and Jain manuscript pages, many of which were recently identified and dated by Phyllis Granoff, Lex Hixon Professor Emerita of World Religions at Yale University. This exhibition is dedicated to her work for the museum and is in celebration of her recent retirement. On view are palm-leaf manuscript pages reunited after having been separated, many with colophons providing new information about when and for whom they were made. The installation includes Buddhist manuscripts from the 1100s and shows the development of Jain manuscript painting from the 1200s to 1500s, alongside paintings of how they were used and vintage photographs of sites where they were kept. Small-scale sculptures in stone and gold from the same regions and periods are three-dimensional versions of imagery painted in miniature on the manuscript pages. Illuminated with narrative scenes, depictions of monks, donors, celestials, and enlightened or liberated beings, the exquisite works from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar (Burma) reveal a surprising diversity of literary sources. The exhibition explores the relationship between the images and the content of the text, adding to a broader understanding of medieval South Asian manuscripts.
Books of hours were immensely popular devotional books in the later Middle Ages. Meant for laypeople or those not in the clergy, books of hours were at-home companions containing daily prayers as well as prayers for specific occasions, such as death, plague, warfare, travel, or bad weather.
This exhibition presents more than 50 works made by Eisenman at three New York–based printshops: 10 Grand Press, Harlan & Weaver, and Jungle Press. In close collaboration with master printers there, the artist has experimented with a range of printmaking techniques—including monotype, etching, woodcut, and lithography—exploring the unique traits of each. Drawn from the collections of Eisenman and their collaborators, the works on view reveal how printmaking has emerged as a primary vehicle for this important contemporary artist to explore foundational themes and ideas central to their work, translating them inventively across media.
Firelei Báez, an American artist of Haitian and Dominican descent based in New York, is known for her large-scale paintings and immersive installations, like the one here. Báez’s work ties together subject matter mined from a wide breadth of diasporic narratives, or stories that evolve and travel like people across the globe. In doing so, Báez positions her work in critical conversation with the history of Western art, seen elsewhere in the Cleveland Museum of Art. This installation is part of an ongoing series in which the artist reimagines the archaeological ruins of the Sans-Souci Palace in northern Haiti, underscoring its position as an enduring symbol of healing and resistance.
Cycles of Life: The Four Seasons Tapestries offers visitors an in-depth look at a rare, complete set of tapestries in the museum’s collection that has not been displayed since 1953 because of the tapestries’ fragile condition. Each tapestry depicts seasonal activities: fishing and gardening (Spring), grain harvesting (Summer), wine making (Autumn), and ice skating (Winter). When viewed together, the tapestries represent a full cycle of life.
Seventeen rarely seen or newly acquired works have been installed in the African arts galleries. These 19th- to 21st-century works from northern, central, western, and southern Africa support continuing efforts to broaden the scope of African arts on view at the CMA.
The textiles in the current rotation from the permanent collection represent several different civilizations that flourished in the ancient Andes, today Peru and parts of adjacent countries. Though unrelated by cultural affiliation, they are unified by being special in some way, whether through rarity, complexity of execution, or luxuriousness of materials. The centerpiece of the display is a unique cloth that experts regard as one of the greatest paintings to survive from South American antiquity. One of the museum’s masterpieces, it was created by an artist of the Nasca culture (100 BC–AD 650) and depicts a procession of figures who may represent humans dressed in the guises of supernatural beings thought to control nature’s fertility. Other textiles in the rotation include a panel covered in the radiant feathers of the blue-and-yellow macaw, made by artists of the Wari Empire (600–1000), and several fragments that are rare survivors of catastrophic rains that destroyed much of the Moche culture’s (AD 200–850) textile legacy.
Works from the permanent collection newly on display in the Native North American gallery include a group of objects from the Great Plains—a child’s beaded cradle; a woman’s hair-pipe necklace, one of the most memorable of Plains ornaments; and several beaded or painted bags that served varied purposes. A basket rotation features creations that Timbisha Shoshone (Panamint) weavers of California’s Death Valley made for the early 20th-century collector’s market; most dramatic are three fine, large presentation bowls modeled on Native food service bowls. Finally, for the first time in at least 20 years, two works by contemporary Inuit artists of the Canadian Arctic make an appearance. One is a 1972 stonecut print by Alec (Peter) Aliknak Banksland, a founding member of the Holman Eskimo Arts Cooperative, now the Ulukhaktok Arts Centre in Ulukhaktok, Canada.