Waltham, MA - The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University opens Body Talk, Buckdancer’s Choice: Joe Bradley Selects, Kevork Mourad: Immortal City, and Rose Video 11: John Akomfrah, on September 8. The exhibitions feature new work from Syrian-Armenian painter Kevork Mourad created in response to the war in Syria; a video installation by award-winning British artist John Akomfrah investigating historic migrations driven by religious persecution; an exhibition where the body is revealed to be as much a source of agony as it is of ecstasy; and a selection of works from the permanent collection selected by artist Joe Bradley, whose first museum retrospective opens at the Rose on October 15.
Body Talk, opens September 8, 2017
Upper Fineberg Gallery
Body Talk addresses issues of beauty, attraction, and the dark side of eroticism, while tracing connections between early and recently acquired objects in the Rose collection. These works, which span nearly a century, include the Surrealist-inspired collages and paintings of Joseph Cornell, André Masson, and Max Weber as well as contemporary sculpture, video, and multimedia works by Robert Melee, Jason Rhoades, and Laurel Nakadate.
Speaking to intimacy and loneliness, modesty and flamboyance, appeal and repulsion, many of the works presented dwell on the tension between desire and abjection. They revel in the seduction of the whole, fractured, and composite body, wielding “beauty” as an active, sharp-edged tool, to reveal the complex undercurrents of desire. Isolated, fragmented, and uncannily collaged—here, the body is revealed to be as much a source of agony as it is of ecstasy.
Body Talk is the first in a series of exhibitions to explore the origins and thematic through lines in the Rose’s permanent collection.
Buckdancer’s Choice: Joe Bradley Selects, September 8, 2017–January 28, 2018
Lower Rose Gallery
Eccentric figuration and geometric abstraction represent two poles in this playful mix of highlights and lesser-known gems from the Rose collection, selected by artist Joe Bradley in conjunction with his solo exhibition in the Lois Foster Gallery (October 15, 2017-January 28, 2018). Open-ended formal dialogues between artworks such as Claes Oldenburg’s Tray Meal and Larry Poons’s Jazio are suggested alongside pairings that take inspiration from generative historical relationships between artists: writer Philip Roth, represented as a sculptural bust, stands in dialogue with his friend and fellow satirist, painter Philip Guston.
Kevork Mourad: Immortal City, September 8, 2017–January 21, 2018
Mildred S. Lee Gallery
An exhibition of new work by Kevork Mourad (b. Syria 1970), an artist known for paintings made in collaboration with composers, dancers, and musicians, will feature work created in response to the war in Syria and the destruction of the artist’s beloved city of Aleppo. Of Armenian descent, Mourad understands the necessity of remembering and the defiant role of creativity in the face of tragedy, mediating the experience of trauma through detailed yet abstracted imagery that both celebrates identity and mourns its loss. His work asks viewers to stop and uncover the fragments of a culture destroyed: textiles, ancient walls, Arabic calligraphy, and bodies crushed by conflict. Working almost solely in black paint as a way to hone in on the subject, his paintings are both theatrical and lyrical, the line reflecting the music that is such an integral part of his practice.
An 18th-century etching from the Rose’s permanent collection by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi will accompany Mourad’s work, demonstrating a centuries-old artistic fascination with the city in ruins.
A series of public programs in November, including a multi-day workshop titled “Culture Cannot Wait,” will bring a range of experts working to preserve cultural heritage in times of crisis to the Waltham campus, presented in collaboration with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, Rome, and Brandeis's Heller School for Public Policy.
Organized by Kristin Parker, Deputy Director, the exhibition and accompanying programs are funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Rose Video 11: John Akomfrah, September 8, 2017–January 21, 2018
Rose Video Gallery
The eleventh iteration of the museum’s Rose Video series will feature John Akomfrah’s Auto Da Fé (2016), a two-channel video that investigates historic migrations driven by religious persecution. The title of Akomfrah’s video means “Acts of Faith.” In powerfully lyric imagery, the work depicts scenes from eight migrations over the past four centuries, from the flight of Sephardic Jews from Catholic Brazil in 1680 to present-day jihadist-driven migrations from Mosul, Iraq and Hombori, Mali. The British-based Akomfrah (b. 1957, Accra, Ghana) is the winner of the 2017 Artes Mundi, the UK’s biggest prize for international contemporary art, and his presentation at the Rose represents the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in New England.
Organized by Caitlin Julia Rubin, Assistant Curator.
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.
Nina J Berger
Rose Art Museum