Works by Jeffrey Gibson, Barkley L. Hendricks, Peter Sacks, and Marie Watt Enter the Rose Art Museum’s Permanent Collection
(Waltham, Mass. May 2022) – The Rose Art Museum announced the acquisition of four significant works that will enter the museum’s permanent collection. Purchased with funds from the museum’s endowment, the most recent acquisitions include Jeffrey Gibson’s BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (2021), Barkley L. Hendricks’s photograph Self Portrait with Black Hat (1980–2013), Peter Sacks’s mix-media work Without Name (2020), and Marie Watt’s Forerunner (2020). These important artworks add further depth to the Rose’s outstanding contemporary and modern art collection and join new and major pieces by Radcliffe Bailey, Jamal Cyrus, Jennie C. Jones, Whitfield Lovell, Noé Martínez, and Fred Wilson.
This summer, the newly acquired works by Gibson, Sacks, and Watts will be shown in the museum’s 60th anniversary collection show, re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum, as part of an upcoming rotation. re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum is on view through June 16, 2024. Hendricks’s self-portrait is already on view in the exhibition “My Mechanical Sketchbook”—Barkley L. Hendricks & Photography, open through July 24, 2022.
Commenting on the recent acquisitions, Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, stated: “We are thrilled to welcome the exceptional work of Jeffrey Gibson, Barkley L. Hendricks, Peter Sacks, and Marie Watts into the Rose collection. We are always looking for work that helps fill in the lacunae, making our collection more reflective of and responsive to our complex world. These pieces offer new perspectives, ideas, experiences, and voices, deepening our already stellar permanent collection.”
JEFFREY GIBSON (b. 1972, Colorado)
BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, 2021
Jeffrey Gibson’s vibrantly patterned work refers to his Indigenous heritage and queer identity and the aesthetics and biases associated with those identity markers. He draws on Indigenous processes and materials and queer histories that use camp aesthetics as a critical strategy to deny any romanticizing of Indigenous cultures.
Gibson earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London. His celebrated work has been featured in recent solo exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; the New Museum, New York; and Brooklyn Art Museum, Brooklyn, NY. His work was also included in the 2019 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. A 2019 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Gibson is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS (b. 1945, Philadelphia, PA; d. 2017, New London, CT)
Self Portrait with Black Hat, 1980-2013
Barkley L. Hendricks was a revolutionary American painter and photographer. Hendricks's subjects exude attitude and style in his monumental portraits of people, primarily members of the African diasporas. Hendricks's painting and photographic work directly engages with art history, the tradition of portraiture and confronts the black subject's invisibility and hypervisibility.
In Self Portrait with Black Hat, Hendricks uses the traditional tropes of self-portraiture to identify himself: a painter with the tools of his trade. He is a photographer—lifting his camera into a position of prominence, transforming the mechanical lens into the artist’s third eye. The books and records in the background evoke the artist’s musical and intellectual preferences. Finally, his black hat, contrasting white shirt, ringed fingers, and self-referential hand gesture call attention to Hendricks as an elegant noteworthy personality.
PETER SACKS (b. 1950, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
Without Name, 2020
An expatriate of South Africa, Peter Sacks is an accomplished poet, educator, and renowned painter. Sacks spent half of his life in his home country in the western city of Durban. He received several scholarships to pursue his education at Oxford (M.Phil.), as well as in the United States, at Princeton (B.A.) and Yale (Ph.D.).
Sacks gained stature as a visual artist for his intricately layered and textural mixed-media compositions. In his paintings, he incorporates hidden text excerpts that range from Hannah Arendt and Virginia Woolf to written testimonies of prisoners in Syria. Expanding the two-dimensional conventions of canvas paintings, Sacks has developed a personal language of heightened dimensionality and tactile delicacy through his peculiar material choices.
MARIE WATT (b. 1967, Seattle, WA; enrolled in the Seneca Nation of Indians)
Marie Watt is an American artist of Seneca, German and Scottish descent. Watt’s multicultural background and Native American heritage deeply inspire her work, specifically Iroquois proto-feminism and Indigenous teachings. Watt’s practice sheds light on alternative constructions of womanhood and human-nature relationships that defy the normative structures of contemporary Western society.
With Forerunner, Watt utilizes vintage Italian glass seed beads—the same kind that European settler-colonists brought to North America and traded with Indigenous communities—to create text atop industrial felt. The hand-sewn word reads "Skywoman" in gold letters on a light blue pennant shape. As the first person in Seneca mythology, Sky Woman plays a central role in creating the earth and all living things. She is considered an important starting point of matriarchal structures in their society—systems now viewed as important examples of proto-feminism.
ABOUT THE ROSE ART MUSEUM AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1961, the Rose Art Museum is one of the nation’s preeminent university art museums. Through its exceptional collection, support of emerging artists, and innovative programming, the museum serves as a nexus for communities, art, and social justice for Brandeis University and beyond. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Boston, the Rose Art Museum is open to all, and admission is always free.
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