New Rose exhibit: Mirror, mirror on the floor...
Ed Ruscha, Walead Beshty and Sam Jury exhibits open Feb. 13
When the Rose Art Museum welcomes the community to see three new exhibits Feb. 13, it will also usher in what the museum’s Henry and Lois Foster Director, Christopher Bedford, promises will be an “exciting period of creativity and energy.”
“Ed Ruscha: Standard,” which features work in a variety of media from the Los Angeles-based artist’s 60 year-career; “Sam Jury: Coerced Nature,” a set of painterly video installations that will appear not only within the museum but around campus; and “Walead Beshty: On the Matter of Abstraction (figs. A & B),” an exhibit Beshty has co-curated with Bedford, and which includes Beshty’s own untitled floor installation, will open simultaneously.
An opening celebration will be held at the museum on Feb. 13 from 5 to 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Beshty has created a mirror and glass floor that runs throughout both levels of the building. The thin top layer of glass will crack as visitors walk through the museum.
“The glass actually cracks under pressure, so you participate in the production of art,” Bedford says. “The marks made by our various visitors will become a permanent record.”
Dabney Hailey, director of academic programs at the museum, adds, “It undergirds and reflects the abstraction.”
Bedford says the three exhibits are representative of the Rose's future.
“If you take stock of all three exhibits, it really provides our total rhythms moving forward,” including a reverence for the museum’s history, diversity of media and style, and interactivity, says Bedford, who came to Brandeis from Ohio State University's Wexner Center for the Arts in 2012 following a national search to fill the position.
Ruscha’s work depicts everyday objects – gas stations, street signs, billboards – yet often triggers philosophical reflections on the relationship between words, things and ideas. The word “standard,” which recurs in his work is a fine example, as Ruscha depictions point to a variety of meanings, including an oil company or quality level. The exhibit, comprising 70 pieces, is coming from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is drawn largely from its collection. It will be on display in the Lois Foster Gallery.
“Ruscha is a major American artist whose work has been definitive in modern art world for six decades, which really parallels the Rose’s history,” says Hailey, adding that this is the Ruscha’s first large-scale solo exhibit in the Boston area.
“On the Matter of Abstraction (figs. A & B)” will be located in the Fineberg galleries. It comprises a dynamic installation from the Rose’s permanent collection, including a number of works that even staff has never or rarely seen, as well as Bedford’s first acquisitions as director. Co-curated by Beshty and Bedford, the exhibit is structurally divided into two parallel narratives.
The entry level will feature sparsely hung work in the tradition of analytic abstraction by Ellsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt, Robert Mangold and Kenneth Noland among many others. Downstairs, visitors will find a more dense and unruly display of material-laden objects, with works by numerous artists including Mark Bradford, Jessica Stockholder, Ana Mendieta and Helen Frankenthaler.
Bradford’s “Father, You Have Murdered Me (2012),” a mixed media collage on canvas, is one of the acquisitions. Bedford first saw it in the artist’s Los Angeles studio before it went on display in a New York gallery. Bedford called it an “incredibly intelligent” painting.
“I’ve worked extensively with Mark over the past five years,” Bedford says. “It’s rare to find an artist who consistently gets better and better and better. I was extraordinarily impressed with everything he was doing, but this latest exhibition in New York seemed exponentially advanced.
“If you look at midcentury painting, there was a tendency to draw on Rothko, Pollock, who really believed in the relationship of the authorship and their particular persona to do the development of the painting,” Bedford added, saying that Bradford uses paper that he manipulates with a sander, conveying the social conditions in which it was made and giving his work a much more “outward looking” feel.
Sam Jury’s video installations cause reflection on the relationship between people and their environments, both natural and architectural, and create a sense of suspended drama. They’ll be seen in the Lee Gallery, at the Shapiro Campus Center and the main library.
The exhibits will be on display until June 9.