Adult Lectures

Check out the list below for upcoming lectures at the CMA. Interested in viewing past lectures? Visit the YouTube playlist here.

See also our annual lecture series.

E.g., 09/27/2023
E.g., 09/27/2023
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 - 6:00pm
detail of a drawing in a book
  • Wed., September 27, 2023, 6:00 pm
Sponsored by the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University
John C. and Sally S. Morley Family Foundation Lecture Hall

The late 18th century witnessed the rise of the hot-air balloon as a mode of transport and, perhaps more importantly, as an instrument of spectacle. Crowds gathered to watch aerialists embark on their journeys, which often were celebrated with retrospective prints and published narrative accounts. The balloonists of the 18th century were the first to achieve a true aerial prospect, but their modes of seeing were in many ways conditioned by the maps and views of preceding centuries that approximated or imagined ways of seeing from above. The tension between firsthand experience and conventional visualization can be accessed in the writings and images from the earliest balloon voyages, in which aerialists resorted to metaphors and signification, drawing heavily from the language of preexisting cartography rather than accounting for the embodied viewing that this newly available phenomenon afforded. The techniques and materials discussed in this talk concern both conscious and unwitting adoptions of a cartographic vocabulary to an incommensurable new experience.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 - 12:00pm
photograph of the maharaja of rewa
  • Tue., October 3, 2023, 12:00 pm
Lunchtime Lecture
Gartner Auditorium

This month, CMA curator of photography Barbara Tannenbaum sheds light on the lives of the British elite and Indian maharajas depicted by Raja Deen Dayal in the album on view in the Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz Photography Galleries.

Saturday, October 7, 2023 - 10:00am
entrance to pavilion
  • Sat., October 7, 2023, 10:00 am
Gartner Auditorium

Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Art History and Art, in collaboration with SPACES and the Cleveland Museum of Art, is proud to host a two-day public symposium in celebration of the internationally recognized exhibition Everlasting Plastics. Cocurated by Tizziana Baldenebro, curator of special projects at SPACES, and Lauren Leving, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Everlasting Plastics is currently on view at the US Pavilion of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale (May 20–November 26,2023). The symposium serves as a forum to consider our cultural relationship to the ubiquity of plastic, its impact on material cultures, and the consequences and possibilities it entangles for our collective futures. The second day of the symposium is being held at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Friday, October 13, 2023 - 10:00pm
detail of water in a manuscript
  • Fri., October 13, 2023, 10:00 pm
John C. and Sally S. Morley Family Foundation Lecture Hall

The Cleveland Symposium is one of the longest-running annual art history graduate symposia in the United States, organized by students in the joint program between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 - 12:00pm
conservator cleans a piece of art
  • Wed., October 18, 2023, 12:00 pm
Material Matters Gallery Talk
Ames Family Atrium

Have you ever wondered how artworks in the CMA’s collection are cared for? Join CMA conservators and technicians for guided tours of the galleries. Investigate artists’ materials and processes and learn about how the museum preserves artworks for the future. Textile conservator Robin Hanson discusses the collaborative treatment project for two Thomas Hope pieces, which united curatorial and conservation staff from the two different institutions.

Friday, October 20, 2023 - 5:00pm
detail of a drawing
  • Fri., October 20, 2023, 5:00 pm
Harvey Buchanan Lecture in Art History and the Humanities sponsored by the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University
John C. and Sally S. Morley Foundation Lecture Hall

This lecture highlights aspects of Sara Tyson Hallowell’s remarkable career as she develops a national reputation with critically acclaimed exhibitions in Chicago in the 1880s, enables Bertha and Potter Palmer to create the first important collection of Impressionist works in the Midwest, and forms friendships with artists, among them Mary Cassatt and Auguste Rodin.

Sunday, November 5, 2023 - 2:00pm
detail of a Chinese handscroll painting
  • Sun., November 5, 2023, 2:00 pm
The Pauline and Joseph Degenfelder Distinguished Lecture in Chinese Art
Gartner Auditorium

Although the Jiangnan region of China, meaning “south of the Yangtze,” was the site of the first Ming dynasty capital, the court relocated to the north of China half a century after the dynasty’s founding. From this time, emperors and their immediate families were largely absent from the culture of this prosperous and vibrant heartland. But many ties still linked the culture of Jiangnan’s “Southern Paradise” and that of the Ming court. This lecture focuses on what artworks, as well as literature, can tell us about the often-fraught relationship between Jiangnan, its people, and their distant rulers in the north.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - 12:00pm
pieces of frames in different stages
  • Tue., November 7, 2023, 12:00 pm
Lunchtime Lecture
Gartner Auditorium

In this month’s event, the CMA’s painting and frames technician David Piurek discusses the materials, processes, and techniques that he used to create a new water-gilded frame for an early Renaissance masterwork from the CMA’s collection, Giovanni Francesco Toscani’s Panel from a Cassone: The Race of the Palio in the Streets of Florence.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - 6:00pm
conservator cleans a piece of art
  • Wed., November 15, 2023, 6:00 pm
Material Matters Gallery Talk
Ames Family Atrium

Ivory has long been a valued luxury material around the world; associated with the powerful elephant, it has a beautiful luster and can be finely carved into dynamic objects. The history of ivory in art gives an insight into trade routes and relationships between Africa and Europe, but it also has a darker side. The trade in elephant ivory has caused irreparable harm to elephant populations and is now strictly controlled, affecting even the travel and loan of artworks. Learn more about this fascinating material and explore objects made of ivory and other similar media in the CMA galleries.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 - 6:00pm
woman doing laundry
  • Wed., November 29, 2023, 6:00 pm
Gartner Auditorium

Edgar Degas was a particularly experimental 19th-century artist. Close technical study of his paintings, graphic work, and sculptures reveals his eccentric choice of materials and unconventional manipulation of media. Degas was known to rework his pictures, often decades after initially considering them finished, and often approached his artworks as if they were works in progress. Frequently, he left clues on the surface to expose these changes, but on occasion only with technical imaging can the embedded layers be deciphered. This lecture explores these aspects of his paintings and delves into his process, his use of materials, and the complicated issue of finish.


All education programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Education. Major annual support is provided by Brenda and Marshall Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Fortney, Florence Kahane Goodman, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, and the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. Generous annual support is provided by an anonymous supporter, the M. E. and F. J. Callahan Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Chapman Jr., Char and Chuck Fowler, the Giant Eagle Foundation, the Lloyd D. Hunter Memorial Fund, Bill and Joyce Litzler, the Logsdon Family Fund for Education, Mandi Rickelman, Betty T. and David M. Schneider, the Sally and Larry Sears Fund for Education Endowment, Roy Smith, the Trilling Family Foundation, and the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art.