As part of a limited three-city tour that includes premieres in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, MoMA presents the Quay Brothers’ Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum), a new work by the American-born, British-based independent filmmakers. In the tradition of their prior museum documentaries—The Phantom Museum (2003), on London’s Sir Henry Wellcome Collection, and Inventorium of Traces (2009), on Poland’s Lancut Castle—the Quays return to the city where they began their education as graphic designers to explore the medical collections of the Mütter Museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Examining obscure archives, antique volumes, and artifacts, Through the Weeping Glass investigates marvels of pathology and anatomical oddities, finding poetry in the ill-fated, true-life stories of the “ossified man” Harry Eastlack and famed Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker. The documentary Behind the Scenes with the Quay Brothers, shot during production of Through the Weeping Glass, also premieres. Directors Stephen and Timothy Quay will be present to discuss the film with writer David Spolum and moderator Barbara London.
Organized by Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, and Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, Department of Film.