The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 destroyed, yet paradoxically preserved the ancient city of Pompeii, providing a vivid glimpse into the daily lives of ancient Romans. Since the rediscovery of the site in the 1700s, centuries of leading artists—from Piranesi, Ingres and Alma-Tadema to Duchamp, Rothko, Warhol and Gormley — have been inspired to re-imagine it in paintings, sculpture, photographs, performance and film. While exhibitions dedicated to the archaeology of Pompeii have been numerous, this is the first time this ancient city and cataclysmic event is explored through the lens of modern creators and thinkers. Featuring nearly 100 works, The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection will be on view from February 24 through July 7, 2013.
The Cleveland Museum of Art presents Less is More: Minimal Prints, an exhibition of over 50 artworks that examines the avant-garde Minimal Art movement that emerged in America around 1960. The spare style, consisting of single or repeated geometric forms depicted in solid, flat colors, was in stark contrast to the emotive, handmade look of Abstract Expressionist works, popular during the preceding two decades. Influential artists like Sol LeWitt, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Donald Judd, Frank Stella and Robert Mangold all embraced this pared-down aesthetic and are featured in the exhibition, along with several others. A variety of printmaking techniques, such as woodcut, etching, aquatint, screenprint and lithograph will be represented. Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the free exhibition will be on view June 16 through October 20, 2013 in the museum’s Prints and Drawings Galleries.
Forty-Part Motet, a work showcasing Janet Cardiff’s pioneering approach to sound and multimedia installation, consists of a recording of Spem in Alium, a 16th-century sacred choral motet, broadcast from 40 high-fidelity loudspeakers. The motet, by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1585), features England’s Salisbury Cathedral Choir along with other professional singers and was recorded in 2000. Loudspeakers mounted on stands will be displayed in a circle around the museum’s Italian Baroque gallery, allowing visitors to listen to the individually recorded voices as well as experience the immersive environment of the combined vocals, an effect that is both approachable and haunting. Played on a continuous loop, the 14-minute work consists of a three-minute vocal warm-up and an 11-minute recording of the motet. Forty-Part Motet will be presented May 4 through June 9, 2013, and is from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
The Cleveland Museum of Art presents The Caporali Missal: A Masterpiece of Renaissance Illumination, a focus exhibition that examines the Caporali Missal, a stunning Renaissance manuscript recently acquired by the museum. The missal is presented in a unique setting that brings together liturgical objects that place the manuscript in ceremonial, cultural and art historical contexts. Many of these works have never been on view in the United States, including Bartolomeo Caporali’s monumental painted crucifix from the Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Perugia, Italy. Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibition will be on view from February 17 through June 2, 2013.
The Cleveland Museum of Art presents British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art, the first exhibition to showcase the collection of British drawings ranging from the 18th century through the Edwardian era. Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see more than 50 fragile, light sensitive drawings in graphite, ink, chalk, pastel and watercolor, revealing over 150 years of artistic achievement in Britain. Works by some of Britain’s best known artists, such as Thomas Gainsborough, William Blake, J.M.W. Turner, John Ruskin and Edward Burne-Jones will be on view. Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibition will be on view from February 10 through May 26, 2013.
The Cleveland Museum of Art presents American Vesuvius: The Aftermath of Mount St. Helens by Frank Gohlke and Emmet Gowin. This fascinating exhibition reveals the transformation of Mount St. Helens after the volcanic eruption in 1980 through 47 photographs by the two artists, including nine never-before-seen photographs by Gowin. American Vesuvius is presented in conjunction with The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection and will be on view in Photography Galleries from January 13 to June 2, 2013.
On May 5, the Cleveland Museum of Art and MOCA Cleveland present a lecture by multimedia artist Janet Cardiff. Cardiff’s audio installation Forty-Part Motet will be on display at the CMA beginning May 4 and is presented in conjunction with her piece The Paradise Institute at MOCA. Cardiff will speak on Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m. in the museum’s Gartner Auditorium. Reserve your ticket through the Ticket Center at (216) 421-7350 or online.
The Cleveland-based theater company, Theater Ninjas, performs “The Excavation,” a site-specific performance complementing The Last Days of Pompeii, in the atrium on select days.
The elegant, colorful pieces included in Studio Glass in Focus: Dialogue and Innovation commemorate the 50th anniversary of studio glass, the contemporary art form that began in a workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. If you have not yet visited the show, come soon—the exhibition ends its run at the Cleveland Museum of Art this Sunday, April 14. Below, we highlight a few of the show’s exquisite pieces.