You just might get the guitar bug to do some of your own strumming after seeing the fascinating and educational exhibit called “Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar” that’s running to May 6 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
The touring exhibit has been displaying the beautiful and wild evolution of the guitar since it opened Jan. 27. The wide-ranging exhibit captures the history of the world’s most popular musical instrument, showing medieval lutes and ouds to classical acoustic and modern electric guitars.
Developed by the National GUITAR Museum, the exhibit features 40 very different and historic instruments ranging from the rare to the antique to the popular and innovative. It also includes illustrations and photographs of well-known guitar players of the past century and their instruments.
“The guitar has been a signature element of world culture for more than 500 years,” says Harvey Newquist, Executive Director of the National GUITAR Museum. “No
w visitors can explore the design history and artistry that has played a major role in the guitar’s evolution."
The exhibit in the Holmes Gallery shows how the L-shaped necks of the Moorish oud and European lute evolved into the long, straight necks of the acoustic parlor guitar in the 19th Century, to the Martin and Gibson guitars in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Then, the exhibit goes electric by detailing how by the 1940s, innovative guitar makers, including Rickenbacker and Fender, were experimenting with electrical pickups and amplifiers to make their instruments louder. Striking and bizarre electric guitars make up the more recent heavy metal segment of the exhibition. Don’t forget the “air guitar” that really isn’t there, but well remembered by many “air guitarists” from yesterday to today.
According to its website, the National GUITAR Museum was founded to promote and preserve the legacy of the guitar, and is the world's first touring museum for now dedicated to the history, science, evolution and cultural impact of the guitar.
The Vero Beach Art Museum continues to display diverse segments of famous, innovative and local art. While at the museum, make sure you see the other indoor and outdoor artwork and sculptures. Take a fanciful look at Andy Warhol’s “Pepper Pot from Campbell Soup I” in the main hallway or watch George Rickey’s spinning circles of the “Annular Eclipse VII“ in the outdoor courtyard.
Two other exhibits began earlier this year and are closing in the coming weeks. Described by the Vero Beach Museum of Art website, they include:
“Shadow and Light: The Etchings of Martin Lewis”
Feb. 3-May 13
“Celebrating the work of Martin Lewis, arguably America’s most important printmaker of the first half of the twentieth century, this exhibition includes over fifty intaglios and lithographs of urban and rural American life.”
“Paul Outerbridge: New Color Photographs from Mexico and California”
Jan. 20-June 3
“A pioneering master of color photography, Paul Outerbridge explored the quirky intersection of two cultures in his photographs of Mexico and California during the 1940s and 1950s, gathered together for the first time in this exhibition.”