Friday, October 7, 2011

"For the Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict" was on view at Montserrat College of Art from August through October 2011. We are now exploring the development of another version of the concept at another venue. Please contact us if you are interested in discussing this for your institution's exhibition program.

Image (above): Catalogue of "For the Record," featuring reproductions of many works in the exhibition, essays by curators. The catalogue, which is available from Montserrat College of Art, was deigned by John Colan.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Artists Respond to War and its Aftermath at Montserrat Gallery

ARTISTS INCLUDED in the "For the Record" exhibition were Fiona Banner (London, England), Nina Berman (Brooklyn, NY), Matthew Ernst (Brooklyn, NY), Harun Farocki (Vienna, Austria), Benjamin Lowy (New York, NY), Steve Mumford (New York, NY), James O’Neill (Boston, MA), Gerhard Richter (Germany), Sophie Ristelhueber (France), Rob Roy (Gardner, MA).

"For The Record: Searching For Objectivity In Global Conflict" was curated by Montserrat College of Art  faculty members Rob Roy and Gordon Arnold  in collaboration with Montserrat Gallery Director and Curator Leonie Bradbury. 

WHAT -- Exhibition For The Record: Searching For Objectivity In Global Conflict
WHEN -- August 22- October 22, 2011.

Image (above): Rob Roy, Highway Billboard #22. Copyrighted image. All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rob Roy: Witness series

Rob Roy, Witness #36

Rob Roy, Witness #41

Rob Roy, Witness #37


Rob Roy is co-curator of "For the Record" and also a participant in it. The works here are from his Witness series, which explore the imagery of war and American culture more generally. Roy has exhibited nationally and is a professor of Painting & Drawing at Montserrat College of Art.


Copyrighted images reproduced here by permission. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Robert Storr to speak at Montserrat College of Art

As part of the activities surrounding the "For the Record" exhibition, distinguished scholar Robert Storr will speak at Montserrat College of Art on September 30. Storr, who is dean of the Yale School of Art, is the author of many books and articles, including September: A History Painting by Gerhardt Richter. More details of the event will be forthcoming.

"For the Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict" will be on view at Montserrat College of Art from August 22 to October 22, 2011. The exhibition explores the multi-faceted perspectives of global conflict and is intended to be a platform for discussion for the many complexities surrounding global conflict in the modern era.

The exhibit entitled "For the Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict" is curated by Professors Gordon Arnold and Rob Roy, of Montserrat College of Art,  in collaboration with Leonie Bradbury, Director of the Montserrat Gallery in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Image (above): Cover of Robert Storr, September: A History Painting by Gerhard Richter. (Tate Publishing, 2011).  Available at Amazon. com

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Objectivity and Truth

"Very often, instructive data ... have been found in creative literature, which is less objective than clinical observation but all the more true because more inspired. After all, the ultimate goal of all research is not objectivity, but truth."

~ Helen Deutsche, The Psychology of Women: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation, Vol. 1. 
(New York: Grune & Stratton, 1950), page xii

The psychoanalyst Helene Deustche (1884-1982), a colleague of Sigmund Freud, was writing about research in psychology when she wrote these words. But the point she makes seems to have much broader applications. What is the relation ship between truth and objectivity? How do the arts contribute to our understanding of either? Or both? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Art and Rethinking Global Conflict

"The frustrating thing about Afghanistan is that you come to a thoughtful, well-reasoned solution, but for every idea there's an equally well-reasoned counter idea." 

 ~ Sebastian Junger, author & director, 
quoted in The New Yorker (June 13& 20, 2011)

BEVERLY, MA   --  The United States is currently engaged in multiple wars of long duration. Despite plans to reduce the number of American combat troops in some areas, it is hard to see exactly how and when these conflicts are likely to end.  Only one thing seems clear: It was easier to commence these military actions than it is to end them.  As an old Chinese proverb says, "He who rides the tiger finds it difficult to dismount." 

One problem facing policy-makers is, as Sebastian Junger observed, that "for every idea there's an equally well-reasoned counter idea." This is a sobering realization.

A reasonable question to ask is: Does the public understand these conflicts well enough to draw reasonable conclusions about them? The answer is unclear and complicated by the fact that despite the involvement of the United States in multiple global conflicts, Americans pay relatively little attention on these events. It is debatable whether people in the U.S. comprehend the multiple dimensions of these wars well enough to envision how they will continue to unfold. 

The upcoming "For the Record" is a non-partisan exhibition that considers how artists can help enhance our awareness of the complexities of modern global conflicts. The exhibit assembles a wide range of work from artists Fiona Banner, Nina Berman, Matthew Ernst, Harun Farocki, Benjamin Lowy, Steve Mumford, James O'Neill, Gerhard Richter, Sophie Ristelhueber, and Rob Roy. Taken together, their work  encourages a rethinking of what we do and don't understand about modern global warfare.

"For the Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict" will open the fall 2011 season at the Montserrat College of Art Gallery in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"The drive to make sense out of experience, to give it form and order, is evidently as real as the more familiar biological needs."

~ Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (1973)

The late anthropologist Clifford Geertz brought widespread attention to the symbolic and interpretive dimensions of art and culture. These are arenas in which meaning and sense-making of shared human experience is worked out, perpetuated, and contested.

When the subject of art turns to an emotionally charged and and potentially traumatic human activity such as war, it can touch a nerve. Art exploring such subjects can expose conflicted interpretations that may be widely recognized in the social sphere, or to the contrary, somewhat hidden and beneath the surface. But by drawing viewers' attention to various aspects and perspectives of war, art dealing with it gives us the opportunity to see the topic in new ways. It prompts us to rethink the assumptions that we may have about it.

"For the Record" provides with the opportunity to reflect on the broad meaning, or meanings, that we take away from war and global conflict, and perhaps to see things in new ways. The exhibition examines the many complexities surrounding global conflict, considering art about war as a cultural expression reflective of our times and the human condition.

This website offers resources, information, and opportunity for discussion in relation to the exhibition. We invite you to look around and explore what's here. More is coming soon. Your suggestions and feedback are always welcome. Click on the Contact tab (above) to be in touch.


For The Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict opens the fall season at the Gallery of Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, from August 22 to October 22, 2011.