Irish Art . . . Amplified
In Fall 2019, the Snite Museum of Art mounted the landmark exhibit "Looking at the Stars": Irish Art at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to paintings from the Keough Collection, the exhibit featured works from holdings in the museum and the Hesburgh Library, photographs by Alen MacWeeney, and several modern and contemporary paintings from the collection of Pat and John O’Brien of Chicago.
Throughout the semester, the Institute collaborated with the Snite on lectures, readings, performances, and activities—some of which were conceived and led by Mr. Marty Fahey, the curator of the O'Brien Family Collection. A musician as well as a designer and curator, Mr. Fahey focuses on the synergies of art, music, and poetry. His multi-modal approach not only builds engagement with the art, it amplifies the experience of a particular piece.
At Notre Dame that fall, Mr. Fahey led a program called "Night at the Museum: Irish Art and Music in Conversation." Musicians Liz Carroll (All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Champion), Clodagh Ryan, and Sean Ryan, along with Mr. Fahey, provided musical reflections on six paintings from the O'Brien Collection. Students also participated—offering their personal reflections on paintings in the galleries.
Another example of Mr. Fahey's approach is his work with fellow musicians to create an album of music crafted to coordinate with the themes of the Art Institute of Chicago's 2015 exhibit Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840. The music was played as a soundtrack within the exhibits' galleries—and then at a performance at Notre Dame in Fall 2018.
Now, in a project he conceived called "Irish Art . . . Amplified," Mr. Fahey is sharing his expertise with the Institute to create a database that pairs paintings in the Snite and the O'Brien Collection with poetry and music.
We will feature these pairings on a rotating basis on our website.
Our first exploration (October 2020): Grace Henry's Boulders Off the West, ca. 1911–15? (below), held by the Snite Museum of Art. Mr. Fahey pairs it with a piece called "The Rolling Wave" by The Gloaming.
Our second exploration (November 2020): James O'Halloran's, Black Chimneypiece, no date, held by the Snite Museum of Art. Mr. Fahey pairs it with the poem "When You are Old" by William Butler Yeats and the melody "Soft Mild Morning."