Rose Art Museum showcases inaugural summer exhibitions

August 23, 2019

The Rose Art Museum opened its doors for the this summer for their inaugural summer exhibitions. Since its founding in 1961, the Rose Art Museum has usually been closed during the summer months, coinciding with the summer break for Brandeis students.

Kate McBride, Assistant Director for Communications, told The Brandeis Hoot in an email that the Rose has been opening in the summer during recent years, but recently decided to continuously stay open. This summer was the first summer that the Rose had work on display, according to a press release by the Rose. The press release also stated that the Rose would be open during major holidays as well.

According to Rose Director and Chief Curator Luis A. Croquer, “We want to reaffirm our role as a local anchor where modern and contemporary art, as well as a place where open dialogues about creativity and the issues of our time are always available,” he said in an email. “The best way in which we can do this is being accessible year-round, so that no matter the date, there is something stimulating and expansive on view at the Rose.”

This past summer, there were two new exhibitions on display at the Rose: “Maya Watanabe: Liminal” and “Into Form: Selections from the Rose collection, 1957-2018.” 

“Maya Watanabe: Liminal” was curated by Caitlin Julia Rubin, the assistant curator at the Rose. According to Croquer, the Rose has given now-famous artists the first show in their careers. Watanabe is an emerging artist from Peru who is currently based in the Netherlands. “We are extremely proud to present the North American premiere of her most recent work, Liminal,” Croquer said in an email. 

“She filmed at the excavations of mass graves for victims of Peru’s two-decade long internal armed conflict,” said the press release. “A widespread and prolonged era of violence, the 1980s through the late 1990s were defined by atrocities perpetrated both by the insurgent guerrilla groups Sendero Luminoso (or Shining Path) and Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru and by military forces of the retaliating Peruvian government.” 

The film is on an hour-long loop, in which Watanabe’s camera looks across “terrain, tightly-framed and textured layers shifting in an out of focus,” according to the press release. The camera-work is seen to blur distinctions between the landscape and bodily remains. “While of the body, Watanabe portrays these elements in transition, a reflection of their liminal status,” said the press release. “Awaiting forensic identification, they are remains on the threshold of subjecthood, suspended between the status of ‘missing person’ and an officially declared death.”

The exhibit is supported by the Henry and Lois Foster Exhibition Fund. 

“Into Form: Selections from the Rose collection, 1957-2018” was curated by Croquer himself. This exhibit features on rarely seen works and recent additions to the museum’s permanent collection, said Croquer in an email. In the almost 60 years that the Rose has been open, the museum has been collecting the early works of many different artists. “‘Into Form’ highlights the international and multidisciplinary scope of the objects that are in our care, which should be more recognized and valued,” he explained. 

According to the press release, “drawn from the museum’s exceptional postwar holdings, ‘Into Form’ examines the ways in which artists from the late 1950s to the present have sought to break boundaries by questioning representation and notions of medium specificity.” 

The press release also comments on the strength of American art in the Rose’s permanent collection, but the “international and multidisciplinary scope of the museum’s holdings—a testament to both curatorial zeal and the visionary donor base that has helped to establish the museum—is lesser known.” 

“Into Form” contains 34 different works, which are in all different mediums, including paper, painting, sculpture and video. The artists also span many generations and looks into the struggles of artists to connect artistic practice to natural phenomena. 

The exhibit is supported by the Rose Exhibition Fund. 

“Liminal” will be on display at the Rose until Aug. 25 and “Into Form” will be at the Rose until Jan. 5, 2020. 

It was also announced in June that three major works were added to the permanent collection at the Rose: Betye Saar’s mixed media assemblage Supreme Quality (1998), Ralph Coburn’s multi-part painting Random Sequence Participatory Composition (1962) and Joe Overstreet’s monumental sculptural painting “untitled” (1972) from the Flight Patterns series, according to a press release.

These three works are among the 15 total works that have entered the permanent collection at the Rose. The press release also stated that two-thirds of the works were made by women and over half were works by artists-of-color. 

Croquer added that “these pieces add greater depth and new perspectives to our holdings, while contributing to diversify them with ideas, approaches and experiences that make them more reflective and responsive to the world around us” in the press release.

UPDATED 08/23/19, 6:00 pm. An earlier edition of this article stated that the Rose has never been open during summer months. This information is incorrect. The Rose has been open during some summers throughout its founding, but nothing consistent.

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