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Developed by the MIM curatorial team, Beyond the Beat: Drums of the World brought together curators’ areas of expertise and individual experiences to create a global perspective of this major class of instruments. The special exhibition featured more than 100 drums from 45 countries and opportunities for hands-on interaction with instruments and creative technology.
Beyond the Beat drew largely from the museum’s permanent collection and gave guests an overview of the remarkable variations in the shape, size, materials, decoration, and symbolism of drums from around the world. The exhibition explored several topics, including drumming sounds and techniques, social contexts, the development and internationalization of the American drum set, and how bold Ottoman army instruments became part of the modern symphony orchestra. MIM also commissioned for the exhibition a large, playable drum from Yaqui father-son artists and instrument makers Alex and Nick Maldonado.
Drums are fundamental characters in human transitions and events, taking center stage in important moments such as birth, death, coming of age, healing, and entertainment.
—Manuel Jordán, PhD, deputy director and chief curator
Bronze drums are the most distinctive artifacts of the Dong Son culture of northern Vietnam. Cast in single pieces, the drums are ornamented with iconic motifs and elaborate scenes from Dong Son life.
Loan courtesy of Chan and Quynh Kieu
This exceptionally artistic drum is carved to incorporate the figure of a Kongo ruler seated on a high throne atop an elephant. The drum’s imagery reinforces ideas of power and authority associated with a political leader.
Loan courtesy of AfricaMuseum, Belgium (MO.1973.16.32)
This 1829 drum from maker Eli Brown is one of 100 known remaining Brown drums. Brown family drums are famous for their extraordinary craftsmanship and elaborate tack designs.
This kick drum is part of Doug “Cosmo” Clifford’s Camco drum set, which he played with American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival during live performances and on the acclaimed albums Green River (1969), Willy and the Poor Boys (1969), and Cosmo’s Factory (1970).
Loan courtesy of Doug Clifford
Made in the 1800s from copper, iron, and calfskin, this large kettledrum produces a low-pitched sound and is primarily used in orchestras. French composer Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) wrote detailed parts for timpanists.
Shamans of Nepal’s Tamang people play repeating patterns on a drum like this one to enter a trance and access their healing powers. The trident symbol allows the shaman to draw upon the powers of Hindu deities.
This drum kit features sound-effect instruments appropriate for early 20th-century jazz, theatrical productions, silent film screenings, and radio broadcasts.
Master artist Golriz Khatami took 2,000 hours to complete the intricate khatam marquetry on this drum. The geometric designs are typical of Islamic art.
Sponsored by U.S. Bank, KPMG, and Sagewood