Rose Art Museum receives record number of gifts of art for its 60th anniversary

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Rose Art Museum receives record number of gifts of art for its 60th anniversary
James Ari Montford, The Annunciation, 2015. Mixed media collage with oil crayon and paper. Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. Purchased with a gift from members of the class of 73 and 74, 2020.3.2.

WALTHAM, MASS.- The Rose Art Museum announced the gift of 86 works of art in honor of the museum’s 60th anniversary. This trove of artworks – by established and emerging artists – includes significant pieces by Francesco Clemente, Renee Cox, Jim Dine, Jenny Holzer, Wakamatsu Koichiro, Danny Lyon, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Jenny Holzer, Tracey Moffatt, Pablo Picasso, Betye Saar, Dahn Vo, and Andy Warhol among others. Many new works entering the Rose’s permanent collection enrich existing holdings by the same artists, while others expand and deepen the collection with new and underrepresented artists.

“We are thrilled to receive these extraordinary artworks, gifted in honor of the Rose’s 60th anniversary. They greatly enhance our permanent collection and reaffirm the significance of the Rose as a leading repository of modern and contemporary art,” said Gannit Ankori, the museum’s Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator. “The Rose team and I are deeply grateful to the individuals who support and partner with us. We are eager to share these stellar works with our visitors in upcoming exhibitions and programs.”

In 1961, under Director Sam Hunter’s guidance, the museum began acquiring art directly from the studios of now-iconic, then emerging, artists like Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Marisol, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and others. Over the six decades since the museum’s founding, its collection has grown to over 9,000 objects, making the Rose one of the leading collections of modern and contemporary art in New England and one of the nation’s premier university museums.

The Rose ensures its unparalleled collection is an integral part of the Brandeis University educational experience, inspiring generations of students to engage with the complex and groundbreaking ideas presented in contemporary art. Brandeis alumni, along with friends of the museum from across the globe, are now giving back to the Rose in honor of its 60th anniversary with new works of art that will inspire the next generation of students, visitors, and future arts leaders.

Jonathan Novak, a Brandeis University alumnus, Class of 1975, and member of the museum’s Board of Advisors, donated a major Jim Dine diptych painting, Harry Mathews Skis the Vercour (1973). Now a leading art dealer in Southern California, Novak stated: “My gift is my way of thanking and honoring the Rose on its 60th anniversary. I started at Brandeis as an economics major in order to become a lawyer, but my freshman Art History 101 course (taught by architectural historian Jerald Bernstein) and my senior year Modern Art course (taught by Rose Director Carl Belz) ignited my passion for art. Brandeis curricula and access to the extraordinary collections at the Rose changed my life.”

Sixteen members of the classes of 1973 and 1974 donated two works by Brandeis alumnus James (Ari) Montford, Jr., to the museum. Two additional Montford pieces were gifted, one by the Howard Yezerski Gallery and another by a private donor in honor of the #FordHall2015 student-activists, who led protests and advocated for racial justice on campus and beyond. Montford is the first Black Native American graduate of the studio art program at Brandeis, and his art relates to his dual heritage and its traumatic histories.

Rose Board member Gerald S. Fineberg and his wife, Sandra, major contemporary art collectors, collaborated with the Rose team to select fourteen paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper from their collection to enrich the Rose’s holdings. Jenny Holzer’s 1989 red granite bench from her Survival Series is the third piece by the artist in the Rose’s collection. A large Warhol drawing, a sculpture by Saint Claire Cemin, works on paper by Tracey Moffatt and Nam June Paik, and an assemblage by Betye Saar bolsters the museum’s holdings by these artists. Thanks to the Fineberg gift, new artists to enter the collection include Francisco Clemente, Renee Cox, Pepe Espaliú, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, Wang Qingsong, and others. Artist Tony Lewis, the recipient of the Rose Art Museum’s Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Award in 2017, and who created a temporary site-specific mural Plunder at the Rose, now enters the museum’s permanent collection via a gift from Brandeis alumnus Daniel Benel.

Beth Marcus, another longtime donor and member of the Rose Board of Advisors, chose to give the museum a copper sculpture by Vietnamese-born artist Dahn Vo entitled We The People (2011). The work is one of 250 pieces cast from fragments of the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of American hospitality and inclusion. Broken and scattered, Vo’s sculpture offers a critique of America’s ideals and broken promises.

Explaining the motivation behind this particular gift, Marcus said: “The Rose was the perfect home for Dahn Vo’s We The People. It is a work that is visually powerful and speaks to the current moment of social justice. The Rose has a long history of presenting relevant art that addresses pressing issues, and I am thrilled that this piece will continue this legacy.”

For its 60th anniversary, the Rose Art Museum will mark this auspicious occasion with exhibitions, special initiatives, public programs, and celebratory events that will honor the museum’s legacy of championing modern and contemporary art while looking towards its future.

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