With the undeniable blessing of a new year, a new semester and the continuation of the college experience, comes a flourish of new and wonderful art to explore. Starting Feb. 12, the Rose Art Museum will open its glass doors and welcome students with three new exhibits, each of which cover a wide range of artistic mediums. There are also several continuing exhibitions, including Rose #FordHall2015, Foster Mural: Joyce Pensato—which will remain until the end of the spring semester, and Mark Dion: The Undisciplined Collector, which is a permanent exhibition.
Rosalyn Drexler’s “Who Does She Think She Is?” showcases her varied work over the course of her artistic career as she explored the concept of American culture—in a way that seems both deep value of the past, while also taking note of its imperfection and hypocrisy. Unafraid of the vastness of the art realm, Drexler has dabbled unflinchingly in almost every medium out there, which might begin to explain the diverse media evident in her exhibition: paintings, collages, sculptures, acclaimed plays, novels, as well as photos and videos. Curated by Curator-at-Large Katy Siegel and Curatorial Assistant Caitlin Julia Rubin, “Who Does She Think She Is?” incorporates stylistic choices from the Pop Art movement, drawing primary inference from images of pop culture from 1960s America. Both her collages and large format paintings include images from 60s pop culture, such as movies, advertisements and newspapers, and can be seen in the Gerald S. and Sandra Fineburg and Lower Rose Galleries soon.
The second exhibition, titled “Sharon Lockhart/Noa Eshkol,” is the work of Sharon Lockhart, who, despite never having met Noa Eshkol, was so inspired by and felt such a deep connection with her work that she decided to further investigate that legacy through her own art. Having traveled to Israel in 2008, a year after Eshkol’s death, Lockhart first became exposed to Eshkol’s work, whose fame was derived from her far reaching talents; she did a great many things, and therefore was an Israeli dance composer, textile artist and theorist and conceived of the profoundly insightful dance notation system that classifies the body’s movements through the use of both numbers and symbols. The film installation was created through Lockhart’s collaboration with a group of dancers, some of which were Eshkol’s students and some of which were not. Together they recreated the Israeli dancer’s choreography and filmed it, utilizing a more simplistic background composed only of an off white backdrop and reversible rugs that were alternated between dance routines. Each of the five filmed dances will be projected onto the studio walls in the Lois Foster Gallery, and in their own way pay excellent tribute to the woman who inspired it all.
Ben Hagari’s “Potter’s Will” melds multiple concepts in a contemplative and organic way, positing the relationship between the process of making pottery, video art and religious understanding of the cycle of life from a Christian perspective. The installation, titled Rose Video 08 and which can be found in the Rose Video Gallery starting Feb. 12, has two parts: one which is a video of a potter’s work space, which is laid directly on top of a potter’s work space that is on display. The video first begins as Paul Chaleff transforms a misshapen lump of clay into a pot with perfect proportions, and all the while the potter’s wheel is still and the surroundings are rapidly turning. The video then shows the conversion of the pot into a human being, like that of the first humans who, according to one Christian version of the story, were formed from clay. Various religious references are also incorporated, such as the serpent that tempts Adam and Eve and Khnum, the Egyptian god who utilized clay to form his newfound creations, as well as the four elements, shapes and the tail-biting snake.
As a response to the more recent Ford Hall movement, the Rose introduced an exhibition titled “Rose #FordHall2015,” as of Dec. 3, as a way of making Brandeis’ campus more aware of racial prejudice and continue a conversation about racial inequality. The exhibition, which is located in the Mildred S. Lee Gallery, has workshops and discussion sessions in order to determine how to make Brandeis, and the world, a more just place.
Lucky for Brandeis students, the curators of the Rose Art Museum persistently attempt to diversify the work on display; the age old image of an art museum as a gallery, with an endless array of paintings hanging on the walls, continues to be challenged. Art comes in a great many forms, some of which can be experienced in our own backyard. There’s no telling what will come next.