CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Medieval To Metal: The Art & Evolution Of The GUITAR is a touring exhibition that celebrates the artistic development of the guitar. Developed by The National GUITAR Museum (NGM), it features 40 objects, ranging from the intricately inlaid Moorish oud and six-foot long Renaissance theorbo on to the modern Italian design of the Eko and transparent acrylic body of California’s BC Rich guitars. Spanning centuries of design and craftsmanship, the exhibition takes visitors through the history of an object that is one of the most recognizable items on the planet.
Exhibited at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) until January 26, 2020, of special interest is the resonator guitar, a metal guitar of the same type created by the Slovak-American Dopyera Brothers. Brothers John and Rudy Dopyera, born in what is now Slovakia and part of the wave of Eastern European immigrants around the beginning of the 20th century, represent the American Dream as inventors, innovators, marketers and creative force behind the National Dobro Company. The word ‘Dobro’ is both a contraction of Dopyera Brothers and the word ‘good’ in their native language.
“Over the past several years, interest in the guitar as an icon has grown significantly,” according to HP Newquist, executive director of the NGM. “The guitar has been a signature element of world culture for more than 500 years; now visitors can explore the design history and artistry that has played a major role in the guitar’s evolution.”
The guitar pervades culture beyond music. It was an integral element of the work of both Vermeer and Picasso, and today it is incorporated into advertising everything from clothes and cars to the Olympics. “It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t been affected by the guitar, whether as players or just fans of all types of music. And while this may be apocryphal,” Newquist adds, “it’s a widely held belief that the two most recognizable man-made shapes on the planet are those of the Coca-Cola bottle and the electric guitar.”
Medieval To Metal also includes life-size photorealistic illustrations of historically important guitar designs from noted artist Gerard Huerta, and 20 photographs of acclaimed musicians and their guitars from Neil Zlozower, one of the world’s premier concert photographers.
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a museum that celebrates life: Czech life, Slovak life and American life. The Museum seeks to inspire people from every background to connect to Czech and Slovak history and culture. Through extraordinary exhibitions and experiences, the Museum tells stories of freedom and identity, family and community, human rights and dignity connecting yesterday with today and tomorrow. The Museum honors those who immigrated to America and worked hard, contributing their skills and vision to the formation of our nation. For more information, visit www.ncsml.org or call (319) 362-8500.
National GUITAR Museum
Founded in 2009, The National GUITAR Museum is the first museum in the United States dedicated to the history, evolution and cultural impact of the guitar. Its exhibitions, launched in 2011, have traveled to over 30 different cities before becoming the basis of The National GUITAR Museum in Orlando, FL. For more information, visit www.nationalguitarmuseum.com