Building Bridges, Making Connections: Spring Shows at the Rose

How does Chris Burden — the artist behind Light of Reason, the soon-to-be-iconic work of public art that will be installed outside the Rose Art Museum later this year — get from interesting idea to metal-and-concrete execution?

Some three-dimensional clues can be found in an exhibition opening at the Rose in February. “Chris Burden: The Master Builder,” on view until June, displays a collection of small-scale erector-set bridges made by the sculptor, modeled on real and imaginary spans.

Burden’s skills as an engineer — both as a constructor of objects and as a social influencer — are central to his work, says Christopher Bedford, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum. “The first time I heard [Burden] speak of [the ways in which art changes people], I was really inspired to start looking at objects in a different way,” Bedford recently told State of the Arts magazine. “His sculptures are acts of social engineering that cause us to think about the world differently.”

Several other shows round out the Rose’s spring roster. The intriguingly titled “Mika Rottenberg: Bowls Balls Souls Holes” surveys the conceptual interests and material sensibilities of Rottenberg, a video artist who is this year’s winner of Brandeis’ Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Award. Born in Buenos Aires, Rottenberg lives and works in New York City. Last year, her videos were shown at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Magasin 3 in Stockholm.

“The Matter That Surrounds Us: Wols and Charline von Heyl” compares two unique artistic visions, pairing the mysterious small works of Wols, a midcentury German painter and photographer, with the paintings and collages of contemporary German artist Charline von Heyl.

Finally, two Rose Video programs are scheduled for the spring. “Josephine Meckseper” is on view from Feb. 14 through March 16. “Maria Lassnig and Mary Reid Kelley” runs from March 25 to June 8.