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Rose fall opening celebration welcomes two more exhibitions

By Noah Harper

Section: Arts, Featured

October 20, 2017

The Rose Art Museum hosted its Fall Opening Celebration to commemorate a new season of art exhibitions, on Saturday, Oct. 14. The event, free and open to the entire community, featured food trucks, a beer garden and an open art museum. It was great getting to see so many people come together to celebrate the Rose.

The museum was open late, until 9 p.m., and guests were free to roam back and forth between the food and the art. The new director of the Rose, Luis Croquer, was present, along with artist Joe Bradley, who has a considerable amount of work on display.

Two new exhibits opened Saturday: Tony Lewis’ “Plunder,” a large, outward-facing mural comprising of screws and graphite-dipped rubber bands—a team of Brandeis students helped to assemble the piece—that resembles an alphabetic symbol, and, Joe Bradley’s work—a plethora of sculptures, canvasses, and spontaneous drawings from marker, pen, and crayon, among others.

Bradley’s canvasses are large scale with striking areas of colors. The artist paints on unstretched canvas laid flat on the floor—similar to the technique of Jackson Pollack. In some of the works, the viewer can even see Bradley’s footprints in the paint.

Adjoining Bradley’s sizeable exhibition is a room of the artist’s selections from Rose’s collection. Titled “Buckdancer’s Selects,” Bradley’s curation ranges between sculptures and paintings such as Cezanne’s “Nu de Jeune Baigneur,” and Reginald Marsh’s “Coney Island Beach #2.” It was a fascinating opportunity to get to see both an artist’s work and then the kind of art that they think are important.

To me, the Fall Opening Celebration demonstrated that the Rose Art Museum doesn’t really receive its due. I’d forgotten how great a collection the museum has—works by artists such as Chagall, Dalí, Ernst and Magritte, among others. The current exhibits of contemporary art, too, are quality: I stood for forty minutes watching all of John Akomfrah’s gorgeous video work “Auto Da Fé,” and I was really moved by Syrian-Armenian artist Kevork Mourad’s gripping and grotesque paintings of tragedy and trauma. The curation of works here was excellent, both relevant and high-caliber.

I was so amazed by the new exhibitions that I told my friend that I’d forgotten I was at Brandeis for a second. I was excited—and a little surprised—at how interesting and engaging the art on display was. I wish I’d known about Akomfrah and Mourad’s work a month ago when they first went on display.

I think this might speak to something about Brandeis as a whole. As President Liebowitz termed it in a recent email, our “excessive institutional humility” can lead us to ignore or forget the great resources we have on campus, and I think student perception of the Rose is no exception.

The Fall Opening Celebration demonstrated to me that the Rose Art Museum is an excellent institution with a great collection and quality curation that we should all appreciate and take advantage of.

I enjoyed seeing all the people enjoying the museum during the reception, but you have to admit that the area is usually pretty barren. It doesn’t help that the museum is a bit secluded—if I wasn’t a Brandeis student and didn’t walk past it every day, how would I know how to get to it?

It is great to have events like Saturday’s that showcase the Rose and bring so many different people together to engage with the works inside and sit and hang out on the Light of Reason. It was also great to see young kids, college students and older people all enjoying the institution and the space together, and it would be awesome to continue this trend.

But I also think that some of us—including me—might need to work on an attitude adjustment as well—to realize that we have a quality art institution right here on campus and then take advantage of what it has to offer. We need to unequivocally demonstrate to the university that we value the Rose Art Museum and that it’s an institution here on campus that’s legacy should be preserved and impact fostered.

Saturday’s Fall Opening Celebration proved to me how great our on-campus art museum is. Brandeisians have no excuse for not visiting; space needs to be used more. It’s such a benefit that we’re getting exposed to world-class art (for free!) right here—but don’t take my word for it, go and see for yourself.

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