Threnody (1972-73) is a 250-foot-long site-specific painting in 28 panels created by American artist Cleve Gray for the Neuberger Museum of Art on the occasion of its opening forty years ago. Cleve Gray’s Threnody: Forty Years celebrates this extraordinary project as part of the Museum’s anniversary festivities. For Gray it was significant that the Museum was situated on a university campus. At the time, college students across the country were demonstrating against the conflict in Vietnam, a war that they felt to be unjust and inhumane. An active anti-war supporter himself, Gray saw this as an opportunity to express his hope for humanity’s spiritual and emotional healing. Threnody, a lament for the dead on both sides of the war, soars 22 feet high, converting the exhibition gallery into a cathedral with tall vertical forms engaged in a “dance of death and life.” Threnody is a “union of opposites,” male and female, love and hate, conflict and peace.
Cleve Gray’s Threnody: Forty Years is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College, SUNY, and curated by Assistant Curator Avis Larson.