The Gardner Museum commissioned Artists-in-Residence Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley to respond to Titian’s Renaissance masterpiece Rape of Europa, which will be on view in the exhibition Titian: Women, Myth & Power. The artists created a graphically stylized short film, also titled The Rape of Europa, that combines painting and performance with Mary Reid Kelley’s distinctive satirical poetry. In the film, Mary plays a range of historical and mythical characters trapped between comic and tragic scenarios, layered into a densely detailed collage by Patrick. Their dilemmas, expressed through rhymes and puns, refer to longstanding social issues that resonate with the present-day #MeToo movement. By giving a voice to the character of Europa, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley humanize and liberate her from the subservient and silent role she had long been forced to play in the ancient myth described by male poets and artists.
The Rape of Europa: Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley booklet features an introductory essay by Dr. Jenni Sorkin. The also booklet contains the film's full transcript and select images from the film.