“T. S. Eliot: A Game of Chess” one of two exhibitions to premiere at World Chess Hall of Fame

by ChessBase
5/17/2023 – Exhibitions to feature star-studded and historically significant pieces connected to musical, chess and literary figures including Katy Perry, Bobby Fischer, Julian Casablancas, Garry Kasparov and T. S. Eliot premiere at the World Chess Hall of Fame on May 17. “Sound Moves: Where Music Meets Chess” and “T. S. Eliot: A Game of Chess” are the two, all-new exhibitions.

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Two new exhibitions

Press release by the World Chess Hall of Fame

World Chess Hall of FameThe World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF), the leading chess cultural center in the country, announces two, all-new exhibitions: “Sound Moves: Where Music Meets Chess” and “T. S. Eliot: A Game of Chess” - both showcasing how the timeless game has had a powerful influence across music, literature and culture. Both exhibitions will be on view May 17, 2023 to January 2024.

A complimentary opening reception of “Sound Moves: Where Music Meets Chess” and “T. S. Eliot: A Game of Chess” will be hosted at the World Chess Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Enjoy free admission with complimentary cocktails and valet; RSVPs suggested.

Where Music Meets the World Chess Hall of Fame

With extraordinarily rich histories in common, there are innumerable points of intersection between the respective stories of chess and music. Co-curated by Dr. Bradley Bailey and Shannon Bailey, “Sound Moves: Where Music Meets Chess” celebrates the ancient game of chess and how it has been incorporated and adapted beyond the boundaries of the chessboard into all aspects of history and culture.

The exhibition features a compelling mix of eye-catching objects, a diverse sound palette, and videos that will entertain and inform an eclectic audience.

“Our goal with ‘Sound Moves’ is to create an exhibition that is inclusive of a broad range of global cultures to represent the reciprocal impacts of chess and music in the widest possible range of musical genres, to achieve an equitable balance between materials related to chess and items of musical significance, and to present materials from a wide variety of media to captivate, intellectually engage, and excite audiences of all ages and musical tastes,” said Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator of WCHOF.

World Chess Hall of Fame

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Two of the costumes designed by Marina Toybina and worn by dancers during Katy Perry’s chess-themed live performance of her song “Dark Horse” at the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIX in 2015
  • Numerous original items from the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, including a handmade chess set, an original chess set for a game of Schoenberg’s own creation called “Coalition Chess,” and unique scores from several of his compositions
  • Artwork and items loaned by the lead singer of The Strokes, Julian Casablancas, related to his solo project, Julian Casablancas and the Voidz
  • Correspondence and photographs of World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov detailing chess games he has played with rock legends Sting and Bono
  • Vinyl Soundtrack of “The Queen's Gambit” signed by Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, which he donated to the WCHOF
  • A presentation of the history of Chess Records told through the renowned Saint Louis musician Chuck Berry with artifacts loaned and donated by Joe Edwards from the Delmar Loop’s Blueberry Hill
  • Two Bobby Fischer-related photographs taken by musician and artist Patti Smith who was friends with the former World Chess Champion

Additionally, the exhibition will include record albums with chess-themed designs, and a host of photographs and films of musicians of all genres playing on or posing with chessboards, including Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Leonard Bernstein, Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Dizzy Gillespie, Sting, The White Stripes, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Dusty Springfield, Gregor Piatagorsky and more.

Programming will include performances by featured artists, local concerts in connection with our Chess Pocket Parks, karaoke and vinyl-listening nights, lectures by music industry experts, family interactive listening stations, family music lessons on our patio, band merch-making workshops, and more.

In addition, music lovers can enjoy the WCHOF Music Series - a concert series that explores the similarities between chess and music, such as notes, pattern, poetry, and tempo, which create beautiful compositions on the chessboard and the keyboard. The WCHOF Music Series connects communities with music from Saint Louis and beyond, including works by classical composers, R&B performances, and everything in between.

The exhibition will be on display from May 17, 2023, to January 28, 2024.

Saint Louis Royalty: T. S. Eliot and A Game of Chess

“T. S. Eliot: A Game of Chess” celebrates the Saint Louis-born poet’s life and legacy through the lens of chess. Eliot played chess with his father, and the game is featured in his poem “The Waste Land.” Curated by Dr. Frances Dickey, “T. S. Eliot: A Game of Chess” explores how he wove reflections on love and loss from his life into a poem that became a landmark of Western literature.

The exhibition features loans from numerous local institutions, including the Kristine Kay Hasse Memorial Library, Concordia Seminary St. Louis; the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections at Washington University; the National Building Arts Center; and the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL. Collectors Tom Gallegos and Luann Woneis also loaned artifacts to the exhibition, which also includes a new donation from collector David DeLucia. These artifacts include rare books, tarot cards, and letters related to Eliot’s mother and the Hydraulic Press Brick Company, which provide insight into the sources that inspired the poet as well as his early life in Saint Louis.

“The T. S. Eliot exhibition tells a captivating story, centering on Eliot’s use of chess in this poem and circling outward to ways in which ‘The Waste Land’ reflects his Saint Louis childhood, his personal and familial relationships, the cultural wound of World War I, and the poet’s deep reading in literature and philosophy,” said Emily Allred, Curator of WCHOF. “We hope visitors will enjoy this exhibition and be inspired to learn more about his remarkable writings.”

The exhibition will be on view May 17, 2023, to January 21, 2024.

World Chess Hall of Fame

To learn more about the exhibitions or other special programming at the World Chess Hall of Fame, please visit www.worldchesshof.org. For media interviews or a press kit, please contact media@worldchesshof.org.

About World Chess Hall of Fame

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to building awareness of the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 9, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Housed in a historic 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business in Saint Louis' Central West End neighborhood, the WCHOF features World Chess Hall of Fame inductees, United States Chess Hall of Fame inductees selected by the U.S. Chess Trust, artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The WCHOF partners with the Saint Louis Chess Club to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences. For more information, visit worldchesshof.org.

Bradley Bailey, Ph.D

Scholar and curator Bradley Bailey, Ph.D., is an associate professor of art history at Saint Louis University. He has a long history with chess in Saint Louis, first with the exhibition “Marcel Duchamp: Chess Master” at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art in 2009 and the accompanying book Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess, co-authored with Francis M. Naumann and Woman Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade. He later curated two exhibitions for the World Chess Hall of Fame, “OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess” in 2011 and “Strategy by Design: Board Games by Michael Graves” in 2014. He has also written about the work of artist Marcel Dzama, whom he met through the WCHOF, in the book Marcel Dzama: Sower of Discord, published by Abrams in 2013.

Shannon Bailey

Shannon Bailey is Chief Curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame and has worked there since it opened in 2011. Prior to working at the WCHOF, Shannon served as the Director of Institutional Giving at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Director Art Galleries at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In addition to her museum work, Shannon has taught art history classes at several colleges and universities, including Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland State University, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Saint Louis University. Shannon holds a Master of Arts in Art History and Museum Studies from the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Museum of Art joint program and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Museum Studies from Juniata College.

Frances Dickey

Frances Dickey is a T. S. Eliot scholar and English professor at the University of Missouri. Her books include “The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot” (Volume 3), the “Edinburgh Companion to T. S. Eliot and the Arts” and “The Modern Portrait Poem from Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Ezra Pound”. Dickey served as president of the International T. S. Eliot Society (based in Saint Louis) and now edits The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual. She enjoys living in Saint Louis with her family and discovering the city’s hidden past.

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