Rose opens five exhibits, debuts digital collection

Museum explores dimensions of time and space this spring

Photos/Mike Lovett

The Rose Art Museum is exploring dimensions of time and space this spring.

From Erector-set bridges to video humor to a digital catalog of its collection, the Rose is offering its visitors the opportunity to travel through the museum’s past and present — both in person and online.

The newly launched Digital Collection website highlights a selection from the Rose’s permanent collection of 8,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art. The museum intends to feature a greater number of works online over time, making the collection more accessible to larger number of people and facilitating remote research of the collection.

The museum also has opened five new exhibits: “Chris Burden: The Master Builder,” “Mika Rottenberg: Bowls Balls Souls Holes,” Rose Projects 01A “The Matter That Surrounds Us: Wols and Charline Von Heyl,” Rose Video 02 “Josephine Meckseper: Mall of America,” and “Collection in Focus: The Threshold of Recognition.”

“The Master Builder”

“The Master Builder” will display Burden’s small-scale Erector set bridges, modeled from bridges imagined and actual. The sculptures showcase the versatility, simplicity and strength of their unassuming parts, combining technical sophistication and childlike imagination with subtle social commentary.

“In his pioneering performances of the early 1970s, Boston native and internationally acclaimed artist Chris Burden gained a reputation for testing—and forever pushing—the limits: of his own body, and of the institutions and publics implicated in his investigations,” says Christopher Bedford, Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose and curator of the exhibition. “First leveled through psychological and physical trial, his work has continued to pose questions of both its material and audience. Burden’s Erector sculptures extend the artist's work as a social engineer, demonstrating his dual commitment to empiric and symbolic inquiry.”

Burden’s bridges are constructed from thousands of vintage and reproduced Meccano and Erector parts, popular 20th-century children’s building toys. The earliest bridge in the Rose’s exhibition, “1/4 Ton Bridge (1997),” is also the first that Burden built, prompted by the artist’s desire to see if he could engineer a structure that might support his own weight. While the resulting sculpture is able to support 500 pounds—a quarter ton—it is slight enough that it can be lifted from below with a single finger.

This April, Burden will construct a two-story Erector set skyscraper that will rise through the museum’s atrium. The exhibit will also include the showing of a video of the making of Burden’s monumental 2008 sculpture “What My Dad Gave Me” – a 65-foot-tall Erector set skyscraper installed in front of Rockefeller Center in New York City. 

In addition to his spring exhibition, the Rose has commissioned Burden to create a permanent, outdoor sculpture, entitled “Light of Reason.” In Burden’s design, antique Victorian lampposts and concrete benches form three branches that fan out from the museum’s entrance, creating an inviting gateway to the museum and a dynamic outdoor space for the Brandeis community. Inspired by the three torches, three hills, and three Hebrew letters in the Brandeis seal, the work borrows its title from a well-known quote by the university’s namesake, Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis: “If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.” It will be completed in 2014.

“Bowls Balls Souls Holes”

Rottenberg is the recipient of this year’s Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Award.
An exhibition that provides a comprehensive account of the video installation artist’s conceptual interests and material sensibilities, “Bowls Balls Souls Holes” is a new work she created specifically for The Rose, which features her humorous, surreal and politically incisive work “Squeeze.”

“Mika’s installation, which will occupy the Lois Foster Gallery, will be a major statement for her and for the Rose,” says Bedford. “Her work is simultaneously sophisticated and very, very accessible – and the way she integrates the moving image within the sculptural environment is incredible. Her exhibition will effect a radical transformation of the space through her own sculptural materials, through architecture, through sound, and through the moving image.”

The Buenos Aires native’s immersive video installations envision the female body as a microcosm of larger societal issues of gender, class, globalization and labor. In her provocative short films, a cast of glamorous and oddly erotic workers, chosen for their unique features and talents, engage in outrageous narratives in factory-like settings while exploring means of manufacture and production.

“The Matter That Surrounds Us”

“The Matter That Surrounds Us” pairs the mid-century German artist Wols, whose delicate, often mysterious small works combine media in unorthodox ways, with new paintings and collage by the contemporary artist von Heyl. Inaugurating the multi-year Rose Projects organized by Curator-at-Large Katy Siegel, this exhibition series will focus on artists who refuse the categorical divides between representation and materialist abstraction, image and object, looking for different models of reality.

“Mall of America”

Through her installations, photographs, and films, Meckseper exposes the political implications and ramifications of American consumer culture. In this work, Meckseper explores Minnesota’s Mall of America—one of the top tourist destinations in the United States—in relation to an aviation store/army recruiting station and military expansion.  

The Threshold of Recognition

This gallery series is dedicated each semester to highlighting and drawing new connections to important, and often understudied objects in the Rose’s permanent collection that would otherwise remain in storage. Members of Brandeis faculty are invited to work with Rose staff to curate this space. The current exhibit, organized in collaboration with Brandeis Fine Arts Professor Nancy Scott, provides context and counterpoint between a recent Post-Cubist work, German artist Thomas Scheibitz’s “Nebenwert,” and iconic paintings of Fernand Leger’s La Femme Bleue” (1929) and Juan Gris’ Le Siphon (1913)

The exhibits are on display through May 8.

Categories: Arts

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