Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University presents Peter Sacks: Resistance
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August 25–December 30, 2022
Opening celebration: September 21, 6–8pm
The Rose Art Museum will host Peter Sacks: Resistance, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, from August 25–December 30, 2022. Sacks, a South African immigrant, rose to prominence as a visual artist thanks to his complexly layered and textural mixed-media paintings. Through his unique material selections, Sacks has produced a specific language of enhanced dimensionality and tactile delicacy, expanding the two-dimensional conventions of canvas paintings. Over 90 previously unseen pictures of people who have battled political, racial, or cultural persecution over the past 200 years are shown in Peter Sacks: Resistance.
“The Rose is honored and thrilled to be hosting such an important and timely exhibition. Drawing from his anti-apartheid activism and multicultural experiences, Peter Sacks creates an inspiring cast of individuals—artists, writers, philosophers, and political activists from across the globe—who resisted oppression in various ways. Bold and layered portraits will confront viewers as a call to action inviting ethical responses to the brokenness of our world,” states Dr. Gannit Ankori, Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, the show’s curator.
The portraits were produced by Sacks during the past two years. Nelson Mandela, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Rosa Parks, and Volodymyr Zelensky are just a few of the topics covered. Each face is encased in a tactile combination of fabric, paint, objects from their personal possessions, and texts that provide information about their existence, background in history, struggles, acts of resistance, confinement or exile, and, occasionally, their passing.
The individuals portrayed hold special meaning for Sacks: “Many of these figures have inspired me over a lifetime, in ways at once intimate and public. I hope that they will do the same for viewers. My relation to most of these figures has been long and deep. My experiences in South Africa gave me more than enough exposure to political and racial oppression, but also gave me a persistent need for models of resistance.”
The show will also feature an audio collage with the voices of several modern authors, politicians, social critics, and cultural influencers reading selections from the writings of the resistors. The recording features the voices of Teju Cole, Carol Gilligan, John Kerry, Henry Louis Gates, Bill McKibben, Julian Brave NoiseCat, Claudia Rankine, Colm Tóibín, Elaine Scarry, Bryan Stevenson, and many others.
“Many of the portrayed individuals became each other’s powerful guides and sources of courage—as I hope they will become for those encountering them in the exhibition,” notes Sacks. “Ideally, the show conjures a community among its subjects. The hope is that it will also conjure a further community among its viewers.”
Peter Sacks: Resistance honors the centuries of protesters who have used the medium of art to pass on their legacy to succeeding generations. The show will have a number of events planned in conjunction with it, including an opening ceremony on September 21 from 6 to 8 PM. Additionally, a fully illustrated catalogue of Sacks’ pictures will be released by the museum.
About the artist
An expatriate of South Africa, Peter Sacks (b. 1950, Port Elizabeth, South Africa) spent the first 19 years of his life in his home country in the eastern city of Durban. Sacks teaches at Harvard University and has also published several volumes of poetry. His artwork is in numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; The Collection of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg; The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art, Cambridge, MA; The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford; and the Beyond Borders Foundation, Edinburgh.
About the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
Through direct interaction with modern and contemporary art, artists, and ideas, the Rose Art Museum promotes community, experimentation, and new understanding. The Rose, one of the top university art museums in the country and one of New England’s largest collections of modern and contemporary art, was founded in 1961. The museum acts as a hub for communities, art, and social justice for Brandeis University and beyond through its remarkable collection, support of up-and-coming artists, and innovative programming. The Rose Art Museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm, and it’s only 20 minutes from Boston’s downtown. Free entry is offered.
Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11am–5pm
T +1 781 736 3434