INFERNO Film Opening at Maltz Museum

16 Jul


With its newest exhibition, Yael Bartana: Inferno (on view July 18 – October 19, 2014), the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage invites visitors to experience a provocative and powerful film that’s only been shown once before in the United States. Inferno is inspired by a Neo-Pentecostal church’s current efforts to rebuild The Temple of Solomon—the violent destruction of which signaled the diaspora of the Jewish people in 6th-century BCE. In an 18-minute film that commingles fact and fiction, prophecy and history, Israeli artist Yael Bartana vividly imagines the epic possibilities and implications of this Third Temple’s construction in São Paulo, Brazil. “Inferno is a large-scale cinematic experience packed with imagery and symbolism referencing everything from religion to pop culture,” explains Maltz Museum Executive Director Ellen Rudolph, a former contemporary art curator.

The visually-rich high-definition film will screen continuously in a specially constructed surround sound “theater.” “Inferno brings up issues of identity, faith, culture, ritual and memory but is intentionally open-ended, with no singular meaning,” says Rudolph. “That’s why we’re offering public programs, an
audio guide and a ‘hotline’ for viewers and experts alike to share their reactions, questions and interpretations.”

Organized by the Maltz Museum and made possible by Toby Devan Lewis, Dealer Tire, Jewish Federation’s Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, Joanne and Margaret Cohen and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Yael Bartana: Inferno is included with regular Museum admission.
Accompanying panel discussions offer viewers the opportunity to talk about thematic elements of the film with an array of clergy members, cultural anthropologists, comparative religion scholars, Latin American specialists, artists and filmmakers. All programs were created in partnership with The Laura
and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University.

Inferno: Spectacle
Wednesday, August 13, 7pm; $5 general (includes Museum admission)

Scenes hearkening iconic films, references to popular culture, painterly images and tourist culture all converge in Yael Bartana’s Inferno. Dr. Timothy Beal (author and Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve University), Bruce Checefsky (artist, filmmaker, faculty and Director of the Reinberger Galleries at Cleveland Institute of Art), Ricardo Apostol (Assistant Professor, Classics, Case Western Reserve University) and Beau Rutland (Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Museum of Art) discuss how the film feeds public appetite for thrill and meaning through its seductive visual imagery.


Inferno: Identity
Wednesday, July 30, 7pm; $5 general (includes Museum admission)

The conflation of Jewish and Christian ritual and symbolism figures prominently in Yael Bartana’s Inferno, raising new questions and ideas about the nature of personal and collective identity. Moderator Brian Amkraut (Executive Director, The Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University) leads a discussion with Dr. Timothy Beal (author and Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve University) and others on how delineations of race, religion, nationality and gender are both heightened and blurred in an increasingly global world.

Uma Pequena Festa
Thursday, July 17, 6:30pm; $15 per person

Join the Maltz Museum for “a little celebration” around the opening of Yael Bartana: Inferno and be one of the first to see a visually rich and provocative work of art that’s only been shown in one other U.S. city. Tour the museum, don a tropical headpiece and samba to live Brazilian music courtesy of the Cleveland Music Collaborative. At 7:30pm, Maltz Museum Executive Director Ellen Rudolph will introduce some of the overarching themes in the explosive film. Open to all ages, Uma Pequena Festa is supported by Winks Bar and Grille and hosted by the Museum’s new young professionals group, M-Cubed.

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