The Rose Art Museum's fall exhibitions–Tuesday Smillie: To build another world and Passage, an exhibition of highlights spanning seven decades of the museum’s permanent collection–will be on view September 7 through December 2, 2018. Remaining on view will be Tony Lewis’ site-specific mural Plunder (2017), and Mark Dion’s permanent installation The Undisciplined Collector (2015).
Tuesday Smillie: To build another world
Gerald S. and Sandra Fineberg Gallery
Building on a history of protest signage, Brooklyn-based artist Tuesday Smillie (b. 1981, Boston, MA) delves into transgender activism and identity politics, questioning the address of language and the imprint of the past on the present in a multimedia practice that includes watercolor, collage, and textile-based work. Curated by Assistant Curator Caitlin Julia Rubin, To build another world is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. Spanning two decades, the exhibition draws together various threads of her practice and marks the debut of new works made specifically for her Rose exhibition.
“In her early books and collages and recently completed watercolors and textile banners, Smillie explores transgender politics and activism, focusing on how visions of the world are spurred and structured by the imagery and language of both personal and shared histories,” says Rubin. “Staked by sources Smillie identifies as the cornerstones of her own, trans-feminist practice, the objects in To build another world chart a lineage of resistance and reinvention, and a framework against which future revolutionary possibilities are poetically set.”
Speculating on the potential impact that collective action can have on creating a more equitable and just world, Smillie’s sewn and embroidered textile works use text both original and borrowed—citations from literature as well as the rallying cries of 1970s trans activist movements. Science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin’s work recurs as an inspirational source; most notably her book The Left Hand of Darkness, in which inhabitants of the planet Gethen shift fluidly between genders. First published in 1969, Le Guin’s novel questioned the essentialized nature and hard divides of gender at a time when public conversations about such topics, especially those related to transgender identity, were sparse. Smillie’s work continues these dialogues, looking critically at past movements even as she underscores the revolutionary power of the imagination that fueled them. For, as she writes: “To build another world, we must first be brave enough to imagine how that world could be.”
Tuesday Smillie is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award, which supports her exhibition and residency. Additional funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation also support programs and engagement.
At 1pm on Saturday, September 8, Smillie will be giving a talk accompanied by a presentation of images of protest central to her practice, followed by a banner making workshop at the Rose. Other related public programs will be announced throughout the fall.
Lower Rose and Foster Galleries
A selection of highlights from the Rose Art Museum’s permanent collection, Passage draws together more than 60 works by an international roster of artists. Curated by Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator Luis A. Croquer, the exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper created from the early 1900s to the 1970s by artists such as Ilse Bing, George Braque, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Marc Chagall, Robert Colescott, Judy Chicago, Stuart Davis, Marisol Escobar, Juan Gris, Marsden Hartley, André Kertész, Alex Katz, Wifredo Lam, René Magritte, John Marin, Roberto Matta, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Helmut Newman, Isamu Noguchi, Dorothy Norman, Pablo Picasso, Thomas Albert Sills, David Smith, Antonio Saura, Gino Severini, Florine Stettheimer, and Emilio Vedova, among others.
The museum’s collection in the 20th century mirrors the historical concerns and some of the defining milestones and significant shifts of art history. Passage broadly traces the transition from early figuration and representation to the powerful advent of informal and abstract expressionism in the post-war era. As painting turned inward to explore the potential of the medium, there was a shift to a heroic scale that turned the canvas into a site of performative action. Pop Art in the 1950s brought the focus back squarely to the banal, everyday object, unexpectedly pointing the way to more conceptual and hybrid approaches to artmaking.
“While no survey exhibition can be fully comprehensive, what the works in this exhibition demonstrate unequivocally is the Rose Art Museum’s long-standing commitment to preserving and highlighting visionary thought and artistic practice,“ says Croquer. “This commitment and continued focus make the museum and its collection an important point of reference and an essential repository and resource of some of the most radical ideas and creative expressions of our time.”
This exhibition is supported by the museum’s Henry and Lois Foster Exhibition Fund.
Continuing at the Rose . . .
Tony Lewis: Plunder
Foster Stairwell Temporary Installation
Chicago-based artist Tony Lewis’ site-specific drawing extends his ongoing investigations of the relationships between drawing, abstraction, and language. As the museum's 2017-2018 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence, Lewis made this mural—the artist’s first solo museum presentation in the Northeast—with the help of Brandeis University students. Using screws and graphite-dipped rubber bands, Lewis and his collaborators generated a large line drawing in the form of a Gregg shorthand notation, the stenographic script similar to abbreviated cursive. Rising in loose arcs across the expanse of the Foster wall, the drawing is an abstracted symbol of the word "plunder," from which the work takes its name.
MARK DION: THE UNDISCIPLINED COLLECTOR
Foster Stair Landing
In The Undisciplined Collector, Mark Dion invites visitors into a wood-paneled living room designed to evoke the early 1960’s, the era in which the Rose Art Museum was founded. An immersive and interactive space, the installation serves as an introduction to the Rose and to the history of collecting at Brandeis. A recently published guide to Dion’s project accompanies the permanent installation, with an inventory of included works and a conversation between the artist and Assistant Curator Caitlin Julia Rubin.
ABOUT THE ROSE ART MUSEUM AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1961, The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University is among the nation’s premier university museums dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting modern and contemporary art. A center of cultural and intellectual life on campus, the Museum serves as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas: a place of discovery, intersection, and dialogue at the university and within the Greater Boston community. Through its collection, exhibitions, and programs, the Rose works to affirm and advance the values of social justice, freedom of expression, global diversity, and academic excellence that are hallmarks of Brandeis University. Postwar American and international contemporary art are particularly well represented within the Rose’s renowned permanent collection of more than 9,000 objects.
Located on Brandeis University’s campus at 415 South Street, Waltham, MA, the museum is free and open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM.
For more information, visit www.brandeis.edu/rose/ or call 781-736-3434.
Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
415 South Street
About Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis is among the premier university museums of modern and contemporary art in the country. Through its distinguished collection of mid-20th through 21st-century art, cutting-edge exhibitions and dynamic programs, visitors can experience the art, artists and ideas of our time.