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Monday, May 5, 2014

How Chess Inspires Art, Culture, Music: Chess Hall of Fame Two New Exhibitions May 8

Hello Chess Blog friends, Here is more chess news about the Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis. Two new chess exhibitions will open at the Hall on May 8 which are meant "to bring life to the role of chess in art, music and culture." 

The new exhibitions at the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) will explore how chess inspires art, culture and music. Opening May 8, Strategy by Design: Games by Michael Graves and Cage and Kaino: Pieces and Performances offer WCHOF visitors a rare glimpse into the important yet often unknown influence the 1500-year old game of chess has on modern society. Exhibition highlights include:

Strategy by Design: Games by Michael Graves (May 8 – Sept. 28, 2014)

Design, function and fun come together in this interesting installment featuring work by renowned American architect and designer Michael Graves. Graves is known for combining modern style with a playful functionality in his buildings and the products he creates through collaborations with retailers like JCPenney and Target. His product lines, at once sophisticated and affordable, prove high-end doesn't necessarily mean high-priced. This philosophy now comes to life in Strategy by Design, which features the chess set Graves has called one of his favorite and most challenging projects. The exhibition also showcases the rare materials on loan from the Michael Graves Design Group that were used to design and create this chess set.

The show will also present a range of other games created by the Michael Graves Design Group–from classic standards such as card games, cribbage, and backgammon to more recent family favorites like Scrabble, Yahtzee, Monopoly, and Stratego. Video elements and an educational center will provide additional context for Graves' work and career.

"Just as Graves, through his work with Target and now JCPenney, has brought the Democratization of Design, the World Chess Hall of Fame has sought to expand the general public's awareness of chess and its many cultural interactions across the globe," said Bradley Bailey, guest curator for Strategy by Design: Games by Michael Graves. Bailey is associate professor of art history at Saint Louis University and co-author of the book, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess.

Cage & Kaino: Pieces and Performances is an exhibition accompanied by rare live performances of the work of 20th-century composer John Cage and contemporary multimedia artist Glenn Kaino.

Cage and Kaino: Pieces and Performances (May 8 – Sept. 21, 2014)

Intelligence will ignite when the masterworks of two creative geniuses are presented together for the first time in this unique exhibition. Pieces and Performances showcases the work of John Cage and Glenn Kaino, two artists and inventors who used chess as inspiration for their globally-acclaimed work.

"Even though Cage and Kaino were born 60 years apart and never met, they produced incredible art that shares many commonalities. Together, they highlight how a game that is often a metaphor for war and battle can also be used to build relationships and community," said Larry List, guest curator for the exhibition.

The exhibition will include the electronic chess/musical composing board used by John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, and Alexina "Teeny" Duchamp to perform Cage's famous 1968 Reunion concert; Glenn Kaino's 80" x 80" piece called Learn to Win or You Will Take Losing for Granted, a life-sized chess set that includes pieces made of the artist's hands cast in bronze; and Kaino's One Hour Paintings depicting chess grandmasters.

"One of the highlights of this exhibition will be the performance art associated with it. Cage's Reunion will be performed at the beginning of the show on May 15 and Kaino's Burning Boards piece will provide a memorable event later in the exhibition's run," List said.

Reunion is a musical performance created by Cage that debuted in 1968 in Toronto, Canada. The single "instrument" in the concert is a chess board wired to play different selections of music according to individual squares. Music is spontaneously composed according to the moves that the players choose: the performance begins quietly as only a few pieces are in play, crescendos in the center of the game, and then slowly fades as more and more pieces are captured. One final note signifies checkmate.

Visitors can explore Strategy by Design and Pieces and Performances at the World Chess Hall of Fame located at 4652 Maryland Avenue (Saint. Louis, 63108). For more information, including exhibition hours, call (314) 367-WCHF or visit

About the World Chess Hall of Fame
4652 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO, 63108 (314) 367-WCHF 

The World Chess Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on Sept. 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York and Miami.

The WCHOF is housed in an historic 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business and features the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection, and temporary exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games, and rich cultural history of chess.

The WCHOF partners with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national, and international audiences.

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