The Reece Museum at Johnson City’s East Tennessee State University has a little something for everyone during the final week of two unique exhibits.
“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 to 7 p.m.
“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 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,” he explained.
A marathon live reading of “Inferno,” the first part of the “Divine Comedy,” is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission to the Reece Museum is free and open to the public. Regular hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit etsu.edu/reece or call 423-439-4392.