Close Looking at a Distance

Slow down and delve into a single work of art during a live conversation. This is an interactive program, and your comments, questions, and reflections help guide our eyes! Host Key Jo Lee, assistant director of academic affairs, is a seasoned museum educator and scholar of American art history and African American studies.



Past Events

Stitching Complexity

Wednesday, December 9, 12:00 p.m. EST

Join program host Key Jo Lee and CMA research fellow Andrea Vazquez de Arthur for a deep and guided exploration of a single mola, made using appliqué and reverse appliqué techniques. Learn about these processes and their complex associations with the Guna understanding of the universe.  

Watch the most recent Desktop Dialogue to learn more about the meaning of molas, the subject of the current exhibition Fashioning Identity: Mola Textiles of Panamá, in Guna culture.

Close Looking at a Distance: Stitching Complexity

Removal, Refusal, Release: Abstraction and Catharsis

Wednesday, November 11, 12:00 p.m. EST

Join us for an interactive, guided look at several works from the CMA’s permanent collection that exemplify artistic strategies that, as a means of catharsis or protection, remove or refuse viewers’ access to a figure. 

To learn about contemporary artist Hernease Davis’s artistic move from representation to abstraction as a means of healing, watch last week’s Desktop Dialogue.

Close Looking at a Distance: Removal, Refusal, Release

Documenting White Masculinity

Wednesday, October 28, 12:00 p.m. ET

What kind of white masculinity is on display in the photographs in the exhibition Bruce Davidson: Brooklyn Gang? In this session, we interrogate several photographs from the exhibition together and contemplate what each composition may express about the young men who appear in them. Join host Key Jo Lee for this lively and interactive conversation.  

To learn more about how photographer Bruce Davidson conceives of his practice of documenting America’s subcultures, we invite you to watch the Desktop Dialogue on October 21 between Andrew Cappetta, photographer Vincent Cianni, and curator of photography Barbara Tannenbaum.

Close Looking at a Distance: Documenting White Masculinity

Scrutinizing the Stitches

Wednesday, October 14, 12:00 p.m.

What can a wedding gown, liberally decorated and lovingly patched and repaired, tell us about the culture, values, and artisans from which it emerged? Join Key Jo Lee and curator of Korean art Sooa McCormick for a guided look at an intricately embroidered garment from the CMA’s permanent collection, currently on view in the exhibition Gold Needles: Embroidery Arts from Korea

Be sure to catch the October 7 Desktop Dialogue between Andrew Cappetta, Sooa McCormick, and New York–based artist Maria Yoon as they contemplate issues of gender inequality, past and present, experienced by Korean women and reflected in both Yoon’s artwork and McCormick’s exhibition.

Revising the Form

Wednesday, September 23, 12:00–12:45 p.m.

In portraiture, artists often impart specific attributes to represent power, presenting their subjects such that they best “look the part.” In this CLAD session, we look at two works by contemporary artists, whose pieces both defy and revise art historical conventions, in order to make Black women’s enduring power and historical influence visible. Join host Key Jo Lee for an interactive discussion regarding artistic revisions by artists Simone Leigh and Amy Sherald that amend the canonical European portrait.  

Close Looking at a Distance: Revising the Form

Printing Democracy

Wednesday, September 9, 12:00 p.m.

Why do artists select specific media to express their ideas? Does what something is made of affect its meaning? How do we know? These questions guide the next CLAD session, “Printing Democracy,” as we meticulously examine the print The 1920’s . . . The Migrants Arrive and Cast Their Ballots (1974) by Jacob Lawrence and contemplate screenprinting as a medium for political protest or artistic activism.  

In preparation for this session, we invite you to watch last week’s Desktop Dialogue between Andrew Cappetta and Erika Anthony, the co-founder of Cleveland VOTES and the executive director of the Ohio Transformation Fund, as they discuss how artists have represented the democratic process in the United States. 

Close Looking at a Distance: Printing Democracy

A Matter of Perspective

Wednesday, August 26, 12:00 p.m.

Artists are well aware that personal perspective determines so much of how we translate what we see. If you could only use one, what adjective would you use to describe this untitled photograph from Lee Friedlander’s series Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom

Following last week’s conversation with Andrew Cappetta where she described care as a central tenet of her curatorial practice, scholar, curator, and cultural organizer La Tanya Autry joins Key Jo Lee to carefully analyze this photograph with you, the viewers.  

La Tanya Autry has curated exhibitions and organized programs at moCa Cleveland, Yale University Art Gallery, Artspace New Haven, and other institutions. Through her graduate studies at the University of Delaware, where she is completing her PhD in art history, Autry has developed expertise in the art of the United States, photography, and museums. Her dissertation The Crossroads of Commemoration: Lynching Landscapes in America analyzes how individuals and communities memorialize lynching violence in the built environment. 

As a cultural organizer in the visual arts, Autry has co-produced #MuseumsAreNotNeutral on Instagram, an initiative that exposes the fallacies of the neutrality claim and calls for an equity-based transformation of museums, and the Social Justice and Museums Resource List, a crowdsourced bibliography. 

Close Looking at a Distance: A Matter of Perspective

The Inquisitive Eye

Wednesday, August 12, 12:00 p.m.

Art is both a window to and a mirror of the world. It can hide as much as it reveals, often disguising or erasing inconvenient truths. Museums work to divulge art’s secrets, but every story told conceals others. So how might we better sense the other stories waiting to be witnessed?  

This week, Andrew Cappetta and Key Jo Lee lead the audience in viewing two unique portrait miniatures to show how active noticing can lead to discovering or recovering ideas, histories, and people who might have otherwise remained obscure.  

Close Looking at a Distance: The Inquisitive Eye

This program has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

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