Pompeii to Brazil New Museum Exhibits Spotlight Ancient and Contemporary Cultures

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 7, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Pompeii to Brazil New Museum Exhibits Spotlight Ancient and Contemporary Cultures


Byline: Craig Tiede Medill News Service

Summer is over and the temperature is cooling, but Chicago's museums are hot with new exhibits opening at the Field Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Institute.

The exhibitions can transplant you in the tropical environs of Brazil, the ancient Roman empire of Pompeii or even a mind trip through the conceptual world of contemporary art.

Before Vesuvius: A catastrophic explosion by Mt. Vesuvius' centuries ago smothered the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. But more than 450 artifacts survived and will go on view at the Field Museum.

The exhibit, "Pompeii: Stories From An Eruption," will give us a better picture of what life was like there before the eruption of 79 A.D. The exhibit is the first of its kind in the United States.

This is not your typical exhibition of Roman-era art, said Francesca Madden, project manager.

"If you think about other exhibits with Roman art or Pompeii they usually associate with elitist art traditions," said Madden. "This exhibit focuses on the human story; by looking at the events of 79 A.D. we gain a better understanding of the lives of those inhabitants."

The exhibit will feature a collection of frescoes, mosaics, coins, jewelry, sculptures everyday household objects, and casts of victims.

"Not only does it show artifacts that were uncovered in the first excavations of Pompeii, but it also shows artifacts that were found when they were building an extension of the highway in 1999," said Madden.

- "Pompeii: Stories From An Eruption" opens Oct. 22 and runs through March 26, 2006. Tickets are $19 for adults, $9 for children and $14 for seniors and students w/ ID. Tickets are not included with regular Field Museum admission. The Field Museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (312) 922-9410.

South American skills: Brazilian culture comes to Chicago with "Tropicalia," a Museum of Contemporary Art retrospective exhibit that examines the eponymous cultural movement in this South American country's history.

Between 1967 and 1972 Brazil experienced an artistic revolution that was an indirect response to a political dictatorship.

It affected the country's culture through not only art, but also other forms of media such as advertising and television.

The exhibit will consist of a number of works from the 1967 "New Brazilian Objectivity" exhibition as well as contemporary works from artists who are working in the "tropicalia" context.

However, most of the exhibit will contain participatory pieces that allow the viewer to interact with the artwork, says MCA assistant curator Julie Rodridgues Widholm.

"Some of the pieces you can walk through or put on gloves, suits or masks," said Rodrigues Widholm.

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