ITHACA, NY.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
at Cornell University presents "This is no less curious": Journeys through the Collection, on view January 24 through April 12, 2015.
Departing from Enrique Chagoyas suite of etchings Homage to Goya II: Disasters of War as a visual and conceptual anchor, this exhibition examines hidden elements and unexpected connections among some of the Johnson Museums holdings. Chagoya painstakingly replicated and altered prints from Goyas iconic series Los desastres de la guerra (Disasters of War) to reflect social and political concerns of our time. In this exhibition, both Chagoyas practice and the double meaning of the word curiousstrange and unusual, or eager and inquisitivepropel rich, multifaceted journeys through the collection. The selected objects, from pre-Columbian stamp seals to twenty-firstcentury mixed-media works, are presented in three discrete yet complementary sectionsmaterial and historical ties, educational uses, and ownership historiesillustrating the museum as a continuing site of exploration, teaching, and research.
Chagoyas etchings, each marked with a different red stamp, have acted as catalysts for multiple lines of inquiry. Chagoya began the series in 1983 while a student at the San Francisco Art Institute and completed eight more of the prints while a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley with the tenth following shortly thereafter. The series was republished in 2003 by Segura Publishing Company. Inspired by his criminologist father, Chagoya professes a long-standing interest in counterfeiting and forgery. To realize the series, he studied the Goya prints, traced them at their original scale from published reproductions, then transferred the images onto a grounded plate, and etched them with a stylus, consulting Goyas originals throughout in order to replicate the particularities of Goyas lines and cross-hatching. Though the compositional integrity is generally maintained, Chagoya brings twenty-firstcentury issues into play through alterations, insertions, or substitutions. The ten prints from the series are interspersed throughout the exhibition, providing a thread of continuity and inciting multipronged dialogue.
This exhibition was curated by the Johnson Museums curatorial assistant Sonja Gandert, provenance researcher Alexandra Palmer, and Mellon Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs Alana Ryder, and supported in part by the Donald and Maria Cox Exhibition Endowment.