LOUISVILLE The Speed Art Museum will present “Shaker Commonwealth,” a celebration of the creative output representing Kentucky’s Shaker communities combining nation of two exhibitions: “Careful, Neat and Decent: Arts of the Kentucky Shakers” and “Mariam Ghani + Erin Ellen Kelly: When the Spirits Moved Them, They Moved.”
“Shaker Commonwealth” will remain open through Jan. 3.
Admission to both exhibitions is free with a general admission ticket and will be open to the public Fridays from 3 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Developed by Scott Erbes, curator of Decorative Arts and Design, “Careful, Neat and Decent: Arts of the Kentucky Shakers” explores more than 50 objects from Kentucky’s Pleasant Hill and South Union Shaker communities, borrowing heavily from the collections of both to tell the rich and complicated history of these communities from their founding in the early 1800s through their eventual decline.
“From handsome furniture and shimmering silks to inspirational hymns and popular fruit preserves, Kentucky’s Shakers left behind a remarkable history of making,” said Erbes. “It is a history forged within communal groups that aspired to attain Christian perfection, empowered women leaders, and elevated Black Believers despite conflicting responses to slavery.”
“Mariam Ghani + Erin Ellen Kelly: When the Spirits Moved Them, They Moved” is a contemporary dance and video work, made in collaboration between the two title artists with dancers from the Louisville Ballet and Moving Collective. The three-channel video condenses a day-long performance from 2018 at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill into a 22-minute meditation on the Shaker landscape, architecture, song and dance as ways of organizing being-in-common.
“Mariam Ghani and Erin Ellen Kelly have created a new and fascinating interpretation of the Shaker’s deep faith expressed through the physicality of dance, bookended by a sense of place in the images of the architecture of Shaker Village,” said Dean Otto, the Speed’s Curator of Film. “The collaboration with the dancers from the Louisville Ballet and Moving Collective demonstrate the joy in a shared religious ritual and the ecstasy of individual connections with the spirit of God.”