The Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University has three current exhibitions with a little something for everyone to explore, from Dante’s “Inferno” to the melodic sounds of a Steinway and Sons piano.
First, “Sustained Melodies,” an exhibition featuring 10 pianos and pump organs, is on display through Sept. 10. A chronological exploration of a selection of pianos, organs and keyboards from the museum’s permanent collection, “Sustained Melodies” features older pianos exported from Europe, two Steinway and Sons pianos, four organs, a player piano, and accompanying keyboard-related memorabilia.
Many of these instruments have been preserved at the Reece for decades, their presence sustained in the museum’s collections spaces, just as a sustain pedal can maintain the music of keyboard instruments for an extended period.
Next, “FLEX,” a group exhibition on display through Sept. 24, features recent works by 14 ETSU Department of Art and Design faculty members. Representing the creative dialogue of “there is no clean distinction between the practice of art-teaching and the practice of art-making, the one act informs the other,” “FLEX” features work by David Dixon, Michael Anthony Fowler, Mira Gerard, Travis Graves, Mindy Herrin-Lewis, Vanessa Mayoraz, Patricia Mink, Sage Perrott, Kelly Porter, Christian Rieben, Lindsay Rogers, Andrew Scott Ross, Tema Stauffer and Johnathon Strube.
A reception for “FLEX” is planned for Thursday, Sept. 23, from 5-7 p.m.
Lastly, “Illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy,” an exhibition celebrating the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem the “Divine Comedy,” is also on display through Sept. 24.
Museum visitors are invited to “travel from Hell to Paradise” via the poem’s rich visual arts tradition. “Illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy” features more than 46 framed Salvador Dali original woodblock illustrations from the Reece’s permanent collection; works by various illustrators like Botticelli, Blake, Dore, and others from the private collection of Dr. Joshua Reid; and current visual interpretations made by the campus community.
Reid, a Dante scholar and ETSU associate professor of English in the Department of Literature and Language, has studied and collected works by many artists who illustrated the epic poem.
“Because Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ is so tactile and visual — you can practically smell the stench of Hell and see the horrific punishments — it has been an irresistible source of inspiration for artists,” he said. “I love collecting illustrations of Dante because they provide fresh and sometimes startling interpretations of the poem, and they speak to each other over time, such as how Sandow Birk takes the classic illustrations of Gustave Dore and contemporizes them, making our modern urban landscape hell. Other interesting items on display include a diminutive 1571 illustrated copy of the poem, as well as works by the first female illustrator of the entire poem, Monika Beisner.”
A live film screening of “L’Inferno” (1911) is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 5-7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion. A marathon live reading of “Inferno,” the first part of the “Divine Comedy,” is also planned for Tuesday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
“Illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy” is supplemented with a virtual catalogue of all 100 Salvador Dali “Divine Comedy” prints located on the Reece Museum website.
Admission to the Reece Museum is free and open to the public. Regular hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information about the exhibition or events, visit etsu.edu/reece, or call 423-439-4392. For additional content and digital programming, follow the Reece Museum on social media.