On Thursday, February 8, 2018, the Mead Art Museum
at Amherst College opened three new exhibitions: HOUSE: Selections from the Collection of John and Sue Wieland, Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art through the Ages, and New Publics: Art for a Modern India, 1960s90s.
HOUSE: Selections from the Collection of John and Sue Wieland features fifty-eight artworks that present complex interpretations of the house in various shapes, sizes, materials, and imaginative manifestations. A total of thirty-two major international artists are represented, including Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson, David Goldblatt, Martha Rosler, Cindy Sherman, Ed Ruscha, and Ai Weiwei. Their artworks explore the house as an aesthetic formfrom prefabricated low-cost structures to luxury high designthat also serves a functional purpose in providing refuge to sleep, eat, and dream. They question the houses relationship to industrialization, politics, and capital, and they stage the house as a potent symbol of social standing, angst, hope, trauma, spirituality, childhood, and memory. The collections unique focus is the inspiration of John, class of 1958, and Sue Wieland, who began to collect contemporary art as newlyweds over five decades ago.
Drawn predominately from the Meads permanent collection, Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art through the Ages spans ancient to contemporary time periods, representing a variety of artistic styles and materials, to examine the ways in which women have been depicted or represented themselves across media, centuries, and the globe. This show underscores the ways in which these portrayals of women can be seen to pigeonhole their subjects into gendered roles, and in other cases challenges these social constructs. Mary Cassatts Reine Lefebvre Holding a Nude Baby (1902), on loan from the Worcester Art Museum, will be part of this small focused exhibition on the depictions of women in art through the ages.
Drawing upon recent gifts to the Mead from Leonard Gordon, Class of 1959, and Georgana Falb Foster, New Publics: Art for a Modern India, 1960s90s illustrates the intertwined relationship of cosmopolitan and vernacular artistic traditions, and the multiple audiences that they have engaged. Along with works by Roy and Husain, the exhibition features drawings, paintings, and sculpture by Sunil Das, Gauri Chitrakar, and Shanti Devi, among other artists.