The Rose Art Museum Highlights Its Radical Roots in Exhibition to Celebrate 60th Anniversary

  • July 01, 2021 21:43

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Sam Gilliam, Wide Narrow, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. Rose Art Museum Acquisition Fund, Gift of Monroe and Edith Geller, 2014.4. Charles Mayer Photography.
Whitfield Lovell, Equinox, 2018. Conte on wood, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. Mortimer and Sara Hays Acquisition Fund, 2021.5. © Whitfield Lovell. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

“I don’t want to wallow in art history,” wrote Jack Whitten. “I want to use art history as a catapult." As an artist, Whitten recognized the past as both a foundation and a launching pad to reach uncharted realms. Organized in celebration of the Rose’s 60th anniversary and opening June 25th, the exhibition re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum, casts a critical eye in these two directions: highlighting the Rose’s radical roots while showcasing the potential for future transformations. Following the example of artists featured in the exhibition, re: collections challenges art historical conventions and cultural hierarchies by charting alternative genealogies that link artworks drawn from the museum’s stellar permanent collection.

Yayoi Kusama, Blue Coat, 1965. Stuffed and sewn aqua and black striped cotton, wire hanger, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. Bequest of Louis Schapiro, Boston, by exchange, 1967.17. Charles Mayer Photography.

re: collections is a culmination of many years of research, teaching, and critical thinking about the art historical canon—how it was forged, by whom, its biases, omissions, and deliberate exclusions,” said Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator. “The curatorial team and I knew that we didn’t want to feature the Rose’s incredible collection as a mere illustration of the traditional Euro- and U.S.-centric narrative of art. We didn’t want to reiterate such limited and limiting perspectives of human creativity.”

Texts spaced across the Rose’s galleries introduce thematic and formal threads interwoven throughout the show. The resilient creativity of artists has long been a force for change, pushing against and altering the boundaries of the accepted and expected. Remixing traditional materials and modes of artmaking expands what these categories might be, just as the subversion and reconfiguration of representations made by others make room for art that speaks powerfully of the self and to newly envisioned worlds and ways of being.

The exhibition recontextualizes the familiar while introducing the new, displaying well-known works alongside emerging and historically underrepresented artists. Across three galleries, re: collections features: Raida Adon, Radcliffe Bailey, John Bankston, Matthew Barney, Christian Boltanski, Mark Bradford, Robert Capa, Sarah Charlesworth, Zoë Charlton, Robert Colescott, Renee Cox, Jamal Cyrus, Stuart Davis, Beauford Delaney, Jim Dine, Mark Dion, Rosalyn Drexler, Melvin Edwards, Marisol, Pepe Espaliú, Fred Eversley, Nona Faustine, Weegee, Ellen Gallagher, Ja’Tovia Gary, Paul Gauguin, Gregory Gillespie, Sam Gilliam, Nan Goldin, Adolph Gottlieb, Francisco de Goya, Myra Greene, Grace Hartigan, Marsden Hartley, Jenny Holzer, AJAMU (Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba), Robert Indiana, Jennie C. Jones, Vassily Kandinsky, Ellsworth Kelly, Wakamatsu Koichiro, Käthe Kollwitz, Willem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Morris Louis, Whitfield Lovell, Al Loving, Danny Lyon, René Magritte, Agnes Martin, Ana Mendieta, Mohau Modisakeng, Tracey Moffatt, James “Ari” Montford, Charles Moore, Robert Motherwell, Romando Vigil (Tse Ye Mu), Senga Nengudi, Claes Oldenburg, B. Ingrid Olson, Yoko Ono, Alfonso Ossorio, Irene Rice Pereira, Judy Pfaff, Pablo Picasso, Howardena Pindell, Elle Pérez, Robert Rauschenberg, Arthur Rothstein, Betye Saar, Kay Sage, Chéri Samba, Joan Semmel, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Tuesday Smillie, Patti Smith, Florine Stettheimer, William Villalongo, Dahn Vo, Andy Warhol, Jack Whitten, Velino Shije Herrera (Ma Pe Wi), Fred Wilson, Francesca Woodman, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Willem De Kooning, Untitled, 1961. Oil on canvas. Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Gift of Joachim Jean and Julian J. Aberbach, 1964.163. Photo credit: Stephen Petegorsky.

Curated by Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, Elyan J. Hill, Guest Curator of African and African Diaspora Art, and Caitlin Julia Rubin, Associate Curator and Director of Programs, re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose
Art Museum will be on view for three years, with several rotations. Programming and a free brochure will be available. In addition, a major catalog to be published by Brandeis University Press in 2023 will echo and enhance the show’s themes and concepts.
re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum is made possible by the generous
support of the Henry Luce Foundation.

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