Janet Cardiff: Forty-Part Motet

Exhibition Website

Nov 19 2016 - Mar 19 2017

Artist Janet Cardiff’s contemporary sound installation emits polyphonic choral music written in the mid-1500s by Thomas Tallis. Called “Achingly beautiful” by the New Yorker and “Transcendent” by the New York Times, Forty-Part Motet is an immersive experience not to be missed.

The installation consists of 40 speakers arranged in a large oval turned inward. Sung in Latin and a cappella by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir, one singer’s voice comes from each speaker. Visitors are invited to enter and move amongst the configuration of speakers to discover what the artist describes as “walking into a piece of music.” The first of its kind at the Nelson-Atkins, Forty-Part Motet is a new way for visitors to engage with contemporary art.

Information provided in the exhibition space is available in Braille at the information desk.

Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether you go or not, the Spanish-text publication, Janet Cardiff. The forty part motet (in Spanish), may be of interest -- although possibly difficult to obtain.

  • Installation
  • Contemporary
  • Janet Cardiff

Exhibition Venues & Dates