Unlike most of the Rose Art Museum’s exhibitions, the newest addition will not be shown in the museum building itself. Instead, it will be presented in the Farber Library Mezzanine. Titled “Disrupted Spaces: Photographs from the Carey Schwartz ’87 Collection of the Rose Art Museum,” the exhibition—curated by Sofía Retta ’15 and Sarah McCarty ’15—opened Thursday evening, March 12 and will be on view through May 20.
The works in this exhibition were gifted to the Rose Art Museum by Carey Schwartz ’87 with the specific intention of being displayed in student areas around campus. This is not only to facilitate experiences with art outside the Rose, but also to engage a broader audience with contemporary art in an innovative and stimulating manner.
“Sarah and I chose photographs specifically because we saw theoretical and visual connections between the images that were rooted in their medium,” Retta said. “The featured artists harness photography’s role in determining how and what we remember, but they also undermine the idea of photographic truth. Ultimately, each image raises questions related to history, place and belonging, bringing the works into conversation with each other and with the viewer.”
Farber was chosen specifically for the exhibition because it is often teeming with students. “We want to activate an already heavily used spot on campus for students to both casually encounter the exhibition and also offer space to spend more time with the works and additional reading materials,” McCarty said. Although there are many heavily-populated student spaces on campus that already have works of art hanging from their walls, Farber was selected for this year’s curatorial internships by the Rose.
“Sarah and I are very fortunate to be the first interns to have this specific opportunity,” said Retta. Previously, select pieces from the Carey Schwartz ’87 Collection have been displayed in the SCC, such as a video that was on view during the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts in the spring of 2014. Retta and McCarty hope that more works from the collection can be displayed in other student areas around campus in the future.
“Sofía and I will be discussing the Carey Schwartz ’87 collection and our curatorial process, focusing on the thematic elements of the exhibition and the conceptual connections between the five works. There will also be time for questions,” McCarty said before delivering the curator’s talk on March 12.
Of course, Retta and McCarty have their personal favorite works in the “Disrupted Spaces” exhibition. McCarty’s favorite is “The Jewish Ghetto—Ancient Rome” from Carrie Mae Weems’ series “Roaming.” It is the first work visible upon entering the exhibition space. “It carries a quiet assertion that demands the viewers’ attention and time,” stated McCarty. A book of her work, including the “Roaming” series, will be included with the exhibition’s reading materials.
Retta prefers “Trace IV” by Ori Gersht. “Though it almost looks like a painting, it is actually a photograph printed on aluminum. The image’s surface and abstraction are mesmerizing, while the obscured landscape and the history referenced in the photograph give it a haunting effect,” she explained.
The two young but talented curators hope that the exhibition, due to its location in the library, will engage a broader audience consisting of students who usually only encounter art in traditional galleries or museum spaces. “I hope that students find that looking at art can be an excellent study break—you can keep your vision and mind engaged while taking a few moments away from your textbooks and computer,” Retta said. “We are very curious about the community’s responses to the exhibition.” To record audience reactions, the curators will provide a guestbook for comments and feedback.