INFERNO Certain to Raise Burning Questions and Spark Debate

(CLEVELAND, OHIO) With its newest exhibition, Yael Bartana: Inferno (on view July 18 – October 19, 2014), the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage (www.maltzmuseum.org) 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:

Uma Festa PequenaUma 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.

 

Yael Bartana's InfernoInferno: 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 about the nature of personal and collective identity. Moderator Dr. 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), Rabbi Steven Denker (Temple Emanu El), Don Ramos (Professor of History Emeritus, Cleveland State University), Ellen Rudolph (Maltz Museum Executive Director) and others on how delineations of race, religion, nationality and gender are both heightened and blurred in an increasingly global world.

 

Yael Bartana: Inferno 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.

 

And Europe Will Be StunnedYael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007-2010)
Wednesday, August 20, 7pm; $5 general (includes Museum admission)

View a Yael Bartana film trilogy (combined running time 60 minutes) that revolves around the activities of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, a utopian political group calling for the return of 3.3 million Jews to the land of their forefathers. The trilogy traverses a landscape scarred by the histories of competing nationalisms and militarisms. Also embedded within are narratives of the Israeli settlement movement, Zionist dreams, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the Palestinian right of return.

 

Yael Bartana's Inferno Inferno: Memory
Wednesday, September 10, 7pm; $5 general (includes Museum admission)

On the eve of 9/11, Dr. Alanna Cooper (Cultural Anthropologist and Director of Jewish Studies, The Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University) moderates a discussion about the significance of personal and collective memory, monuments, and memorial in contemporary life and culture. Panelists include Dr. Katia Almeida (Instructor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University), Dr. Timothy Beal(author and Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, Case Western Reserve University), Dr. Joy Bostic (Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Case Western Reserve University), Bruce Checefsky (artist, filmmaker, faculty and Director of the Reinberger Galleries at Cleveland Institute of Art), Dr. Barbara Tannenbaum (Curator of Photography, Cleveland Museum of Art) and Darice Polo (artist, filmmaker and Assistant Professor, Kent State University).

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Interviews, exhibition didactics, stills and advance screenings available to media upon request.

MALTZ MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE The Maltz Museum celebrates culture, identity and connection, often through the lens of Jewish heritage and history. Uplifting, personal stories of survival, courage and creativity are brought to life through interactive exhibitions and thought-provoking programs that promote a greater appreciation for the diversity of the human experience.  For more information, visit maltzmuseum.org and follow us on Twitter @maltzmuseum.

BLUE STAR MUSEUM Maltz Museum is offering the nation’s active duty military personnel (including National Guard and Reserve and their families) FREE admission and 20% off any purchase in the Museum Store now through Labor Day.

M-CUBED A newly-formed group is creating unique opportunities for emerging leaders to connect with the Maltz Museum and each other. Focused on community, diversity and civic engagement, M-Cubed seeks enthusiastic individuals interested in planning meaningful programs that engage today’s young leaders while having fun. People of all backgrounds are welcome.

GAY GAMES 9 Maltz Museum is a Gay Games 9 Community Partner. Look for our shared cultural arts booth in Festival Village (August 10-15), a gathering hub for entertainment, activities, food and more.

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda (opening November 13, 2014) and Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American (opening April 9, 2015)