American Ax-Men: The Met Celebrates Luthiers

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art features about 65 guitars handcrafted by masters living in New York City in the early part of the 20th Century. The show, called “Guitar Heroes,”  embodies America’s nascent fascination, and ultimate adoption, of the European acoustic instrument. Jayson Kerr Dobney, associate curator of the Met’s Department of Musical Instruments discusses the show.

Of course, our nation's love of the instrument is still going strong. Just yesterday, guitars from Eric Clapton’s personal collection sold for price tags up to 100 times the expected sale price. To tell us why we just can’t seem to let go of our love affair with the guitar is Vernon Reid founder of the seminal funk metal band Living Colour.

Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
A chitarra-lyra, built by luthier Luigi Mozzani in Cento, Italy around 1915.
Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art
An arch top guitar made by Italian-born American luthier Mario Maccaferri around 1953.
Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This archtop guitar, also made in the early 1950s by John D’Angelico, incorporates elements of the violin and mandolin.
Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The style of this "teardrop" guitar was born in the 1950s, but this John Monteleone instrument was made in 2008.
Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This solid body electric guitar was commissioned by musician Steve Miller and build by his friend James D’Aquisto in 1994.

Guests:

Jayson Kerr Dobney and Vernon Reid

Produced by:

Ben Brock Johnson and Hsi-Chang Lin

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