Rosenquist discusses Rose at dinner, campus lecture
As part of last week's celebration of the Rose Art Museum, renowned pop artist James Rosenquist spoke at two major events on campus last week: an invitation-only dinner for trustees, donors and faculty members last Wednesday at the Rose and a lecture for students last Thursday in Pollack Auditorium.
The Wednesday night event consisted of a dinner and panel with Rosenquist and Adam Weiner '77, the director of New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.
The event began with an hour-long viewing of the museum, allowing participants to mingle and see the new exhibits and renovations. The Rose is currently features three exhibits: "Art at the Origin," which displays 17 of the first pieces of art collected for the Museum; "Collecting Stories," which delineates the major exhibitions of the Rose's history; and Bruce Conner's "EVE-RAY-FOREVER" (1965/2006), a film originally shown at the Rose in 1965.
The preview of the exhibitions also marked one of the first showings of the museum's $1.7-million renovation, which was completed in summer 2011.
Following the preview of the exhibitions, the attendees were ushered into the tent attached to the Rose—set up specifically for the anniversary—where they were treated to a meal and a discussion between Weinberg and Rosenquist, whose work "Two 1959 people" is featured in one the Rose's new exhibits, "Art at the Origin."
University President Frederick Lawrence opened the dinner by claiming that the room was "filled with people delighted to be here tonight," and thanking the Board of Trustees, the Rose Board of Overseers and Lois Foster and Gerald Fineberg for their support for the Museum.
Weinberg, who introduced Rosenquist and moderated the discussion with him about his paintings, talked about the importance of the Rose to his Brandeis experience, explaining that, as an Art History major, many of his college memories took place at the museum.
Weinberg also lauded Lawrence for understanding the Rose's intrinsic value and thanked the museum's donors before introducing Rosenquist, who congratulated the Rose on making a comeback, claiming that it "now exists bigger and better than ever before."
Following their opening remarks, Rosenquist, prompted by Weinberg, discussed several of his works, including "I Love You with My Ford" and "Brancusi's Pillow."
Rosenquist also spoke about these paintings and additional topics at the Thursday lecture in Pollack Auditorium, which was open to students, faculty and other community members.
Rosenquist also spoke to students about challenges they would face if they choose to pursue art professionally.
"Artists appear, work like hell, give everything away and disappear," he said, referring to the cycle of artists creating and selling art.
Though he admitted art was a difficult profession, Rosenquist added that, "I like the humanism that the Rose Art Museum brings to this community for you people. Because it will educate you to show you that maybe you should try to do something, whether it's art or history or science. … Invent something. … That's why art is important."
In September 2010 Rosenquist was supposed to display his work at the Rose Art Museum but was unable to due to a studio fire. He subsequently said in an interview with the Boston Globe that he wanted to refrain from getting involved in the "mess" of the Rose financial battle.
At the Thursday lecture, Rosenquist said, "I'm so happy that the Rose has been stabilized and is going forward. And it's got nowhere to go but up from now on."
The attendees at Wednesday and Thursday's events were impressed with Rosenquist's descriptions of his work and pragmatic approach to art. In interviews with the Justice, Meryl Feinstein '12, a Warner Curatorial Intern at the Rose, who attended both events, thought both presentations were "fantastic."
"I think that it's nice to get a human face to all the artists we have at the Rose, especially because Rosenquist is one of the last of his movement that is still alive. I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Feinstein stated.
"He has so much history, and he's such an iconic person," said Director of Museum Operations Roy Dawes in an interview with the Justice. "I loved the fact that he talked, very pragmatically, about how to paint—the actual doing of it, rather than the aesthetic … stuff that a lot of us talk about," he said.