Chazen Museum of Art


Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art

Posted January 26, 2018 by Chazen Education

Collection Connections

(South African, b. 1955)
Il Communicato N. 81
India ink on book pages
63 x 47 1/2 in.
Joyce and William Wartmann Fund purchase

The son of two anti-apartheid lawyers, South African artist William Kentridge has been engaged in the defense of anti-apartheid activists from a young age. In the 1980s, his animated films created from “erasure” drawings gained international recognition. Deeply personal and complex, his narratives reflect his own journey through the aftermath of Apartheid and Colonialism and document a legacy of abuse and injustice in his homeland. The rhinoceros is a recurring motif for Kentridge who uses the rhino as a symbol of an exploitative colonialist view of Africa representing the subjugation of a continent whose resources were stripped away by European colonizers. 

William Kentridge has said “forgetting is natural, remember is the effort one makes”. What techniques do Aboriginal artists employ to make outsiders “remember” their legacy?

 Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection

Portrait of Lady Spencer: The Chazen’s connection to Diana, Princess of Wales

Posted August 30, 2017 by Michelle Michiko Prestholt

In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Chazen Museum would like to highlight our portrait of the Princess’s great-great-great-great grandmother, Margaret Georgiana Spencer (née Poyntz), the Countess Spencer (1737–1814). The enamel on copper Portrait of Lady Spencer was completed in 1833 by Henry Pierce Bone (1779­­ –1855) after an earlier work by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792).

Georgiana, as she preferred to be called, was married to John, the first Earl Spencer (1734–1783). Their marriage was a love match, a rarity for their time. Despite not possessing a title himself at the time of their courtship, John came from a noble family and was the most eligible bachelor in Britain after inheriting an enormous fortune from his great-grandmother. The Spencer family disapproved of Georgiana’s lesser wealth and her family’s connections to trade, but the couple persisted, waiting until John’s twenty-first birthday, at which time he no longer required his family’s permission to marry. In 1755, John and Georgiana married in a secret ceremony in the Oak Bedroom of Althorp, the traditional seat of the Spencer family, where Princess Diana herself grew up and is interred.

John’s loyalty to the Whig party in the House of Commons earned him the reward of an earldom, allowing him to become the first Earl Spencer in 1765. The Earl and the Countess Spencer were both highly educated and were enthusiastic patrons of writers and artists. They spent lavishly to build a London home, named Spencer House, to hold their art collection. The Countess Spencer was well known in London society as a fashionable hostess and philanthropist, giving her time and money to various charitable organizations.

Further breaking with the traditions of their era and status, the Earl and Countess Spencer were demonstratively doting parents to their three children. Lady Spencer’s favorite child was her eldest daughter and namesake, the infamous Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire (1757–1806), who was portrayed by Kiera Knightley in the 2008 film The Duchess. After the Earl Spencer’s death in 1783 at the young age of 48, Lady Spencer took an active role in the education and upbringing of her numerous grandchildren. Lady Spencer maintained her reputation as an influential and esteemed member of British society until her death at the age of 76 in 1814.

Henry Pierce Bone, (English, 1779­­–1855), Portrait of Lady Spencer, 1833, enamel
on copper, Gift in memory of Mrs. Frederick W. Miller, 1992.332

Cuban Photography Exhibition at the Chazen

Posted March 23, 2015 by Chazen Publications

President Obama recently announced that the United States will move toward normalizing relations with Cuba. An embassy in Havana and diplomatic relations will be reestablished, and travel restrictions will be eased—although ordinary tourism is still banned. But visitors to the Chazen Museum of Art will be able to take an intimate look at current photographic art from the island nation with the opening of an exhibition of contemporary Cuban photography March 6–June 21.

Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today explores the way photography is used, understood, and experienced in Cuba in times of transition. Guest curator Guillermina De Ferrari has assembled photographs, photography-based installations, digital photomontage and “intervened photography” by eight contemporary Cuban artists. The exhibition explores how photography and photographic practice have changed on the island over the last two decades and how it creates meaning in light of the technological, philosophical, and aesthetic changes during that time.

In contrast with the highly stylized documentary images of the young Revolution, the new Cuban photography aims to shape reality by creating a syntax of expressive artifacts, one in which the printed image becomes one element in a complex discursive practice. New Cuban photography-based art creates an imaginary space of aesthetic openness—apertura in Spanish—against or in play with what is perceived to be an artificially stagnant political reality.

Liudmila + Nelson, (Cuban, est. 1993), San Lazaro e Infanta, from the series, Hotel Habana, 2009–2012, transparency, 40 x 60 in., courtesy of the artists

Featured Artists:
Angel Delgado
José Manuel Fors
Carlos Garaicoa
Liudmila + Nelson
Reynier Leyva Novo
René Peña
Rafael Villares

Click the image below to view and download the online exhibition catalogue.

Exhibition page: Apertura: Photography in Cuba Today

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