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Brandeis University

brandeis university / art for curious minds / fall 2010

The Art of Making Art

Brandeis Theater Company’s “Sunday in the Park with George”

WaterWays at the Rose Jewish Music of the Italian Renaissance Framing the Art World


Art Isn’t Easy

FALL 2010 Vol. 7, Number 1


By Scott Edmiston, Director, Office of the Arts

Bit by bit, putting it together Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art Every moment makes a contribution Every little detail plays a part Having just a vision’s no solution Everything depends on execution Putting it together That’s what counts

Has there ever been a more deliciously succinct description of the creative process than this Stephen Sondheim lyric from “Sunday in the Park with George?” This semester, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to direct this landmark musical in a new production by the Brandeis Theater Company. Sondheim and his collaborator, James Lapine, made an extraordinary work of art about, well, the art of making art. It is a unique (dare I say harmonic?) convergence of theater with visual art and music. To help connect these interdisciplinary dots, I turned to two friends on the Brandeis faculty. In our cover story, art historian Nancy Scott and musical theater composer Neal Hampton consider why, in Sondheim’s words, “art isn’t easy — any way you look at it.”


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“Sunday in the Park with George” dramatizes how the 19th-century painter Georges Seurat developed his pointillist technique and provides a multifaceted look at what it means to be an artist. Artists are depicted as misunderstood, selfish, obsessive — but able to see a world that others cannot and to bring a magnificent order to that world. The play captures something enviably romantic about the creative life — standing at an easel with a palette on a sunlit Sunday afternoon, capturing forever a shimmering moment in time. “Work is what you do for other people,” one character sings. “Art is what you do for yourself.” But Sondheim and Lapine also reveal the darker, more complex colors beneath the surface. Seurat’s masterpiece does not emerge in a divine stroke of inspiration, but from years of personal sacrifice, methodical experimentation and sheer hard work. The second act of the musical takes place 100 years later as Seurat’s great-grandson, also an artist, tries to navigate through the contemporary art world. We are shown that an artist’s life today is no longer about the pleasure of paint on canvas. It is a technology-driven process dominated by donors, media, museum politics and the public’s constant demand for something new. Trying to reconcile the purity of creative expression and the reality of survival is something that I see artists, actors and musicians confront every day. Was it easier to be an artist in Seurat’s time, or do we simply view it now through a more romantic frame? One of the many things I admire about “Sunday in the Park” is the way this twoact/two-century story creates connections between the art of the past and the present. In the Brandeis School of Creative Arts, our students are continually doing just that

— seeking new interpretations of classics through fresh eyes and making new artistic discoveries inspired by the visionaries who preceded them.

State of the Arts is published twice a year by the Office of the Arts and the Office of Communications.

For example, in this issue of State of the Arts, you can read about three recent Brandeis graduates who received degrees in art history and are now exploring new paths for visual art in the 21st century. Musicologist Seth Coluzzi offers insight into the fall concert by Fretwork, a British ensemble that unites music of the Renaissance with new music, connecting themes across time. The Rose Art Museum’s “WaterWays” exhibition offers great works from its historic collection, and next door, in studio art classrooms, artists of a new generation are learning technique, shaping their vision and defining their creative identity. Meanwhile, the actors, designers and stage crew are over at the Spingold Theater Center, putting it together.

The Office of the Arts Director Scott Edmiston

And that … is the state of the art.

Program Administrator Ingrid Schorr

2 theater

8 music

Design Zak Kubert University Photographer Mike Lovett Publications Editor Cathy Mallen Webber

13 visual arts

Production Manager Tatiana Anacki ’98 Contributors David Colfer Seth Coluzzi Roy Dawes Judith Eissenberg Stephanie Grimes Neal Hampton Leigh Hilderbrandt Shawna Kelley Michele L’Heureux Kristin Parker Nancy Scott Joy Vlachos Correspondence Office of the Arts MS 052 Brandeis University PO Box 549110 Waltham, MA 02454-9110

19 the art of the matter

20 artifacts

21 calendar

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Two brilliant artists — one a painter and one a composer — from different centuries and continents find communion in a work of theater about the art of making art.

“Sunday in the Park with George,” 1984. Photo by Martha Swope.

The second act leaps ahead 100 years to America, creation of his masterpiece where Seurat’s great-grandson, also an artist, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of unveils his latest laser sculpture. Consumed with the La Grande Jatte” and the tumultuous pressure of securing grants and impressing donors, relationship of Seurat with his muse curators and critics, he feels that he has lost his artisand mistress, Dot. In addition to tic integrity. He travels to France to visit the Island of exploring the creative process, it is La Grande Jatte in an attempt to reclaim his ancestry a love story about the personal and his identity as an artist. sacrifices that artists must make sometimes in service to their gifts. In the articles that follow, Nancy Scott, professor of art Sondheim, a prolific and muchhistory in Brandeis’ Department of Fine Arts, and Neal honored composer who made his Hampton, an associate professor who teaches musical Broadway debut as the lyricist for theater composition in the Department of Music, share “West Side Story” (1957), depicts the their insights on Seurat, Sondheim and this theatrical artist’s process as one of both pain convergence of the visual and performing arts. and glory, a blessing and a curse.

Georges Seurat, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte,” 1884, Art Institute of Chicago

Composition. Balance. Light. Harmony. This fall, theater, music and fine arts at Brandeis share a common stage — and canvas — in the Brandeis Theater Company’s production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” Written by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine (book), the musical premiered on Broadway in 1984 and astonished audiences with its innovative themes and form. Frank Rich, of The New York Times, hailed it as “a musical theater breakthrough,” saying, “Sondheim has transcended four decades of Broadway history [to create] perhaps the first truly modernist work … an audacious, haunting and, in its own personal way, touching work.” It received the New York Drama Critics Award, eight Drama Desk awards, three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


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Sondheim drew his inspiration from the life and work of painter Georges Seurat (1859–1891). Little is actually known about Seurat, and the musical is largely a work of fiction. The first act depicts the

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By Nancy Scott Professor of Art History In 1886, the critic Felix Fénéon called the famous painting now in the Art Institute of Chicago “sublimated reality” and declared it to be “a complete, new paradigm” expressive of a great procession of modern life. This he saw as a new major movement away from traditional impressionism, a “harmony of contrasts.” Georges Seurat himself would comment, “Others see poetry in my painting: I only paint my method.” Since Fénéon, many artists and scholars have debated the impact of Georges Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” The large painting (just over 10 feet wide by seven feet high) was displayed for the first time at the eighth (and last) impressionist exhibition. The distant and near views of the painting created a disjunctive set of reactions: it was both an eerily frieze-like arrangement of figures in a park and an atomic spray of pure color abstraction. Seurat was clearing new ground for perceptions of color and light. Seurat’s contemporary, Claude Monet, had an eye for color that could not be taught, only imitated. While Seurat followed this academic practice, he also brought to it a lifelong search for enhancing the sparkle and luminescence of color. By studying the most innovative scientific theories of prismatic color, he ultimately resolved to paint the scene on the Grand Jatte with a limited range of pure color. He divided his palette into 13 pools of rainbow tones, from deep purples to palest sky blue, then further divided each tone with an equal amount of white. He did this in two portions: there were 39 colors in total on the palette.


Sondheim on the painting: “It’s the most magical of experiences. I can’t talk about it without

From crying. When you get up close and see what that man did, it’s thrilling. Each one of those these, [dots] is a choice. Three million choices — however many dabs there are. This is the Seurat perfect painting for somebody like me to musicalize because it is all about design, and constructit’s all about echo, and it’s all about the effect of this next to that, or apart from that.” ed color complementaries to convey the rhythm and contour in the parade of modern life. We see this immediately in the pronounced bustle of the woman strolling with her gentleman and in the pet monkey, its back arched in parallel fashion. The tether on a golden chain indicates that the woman is “kept.” James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim called her “Dot” and gave her glorious voice as Seurat’s mistress — which she decidedly was not. Madeleine Knoblock, his real-life mistress, appears in a later painting of her boudoir, titled “Young Woman Powdering Herself” (“La Poudreuse”) and the source for another song in the musical. At the time of Seurat’s sudden death at age 31 none of his friends knew of Madeleine’s existence, nor of the child she would soon bear. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine sought to re-imagine theme and variations, rhythm and harmony from Seurat’s masterpiece. Sondheim reported that he first hoped to use only as many instruments in the orchestra as Seurat’s color tones. He ultimately found that scheme too restrictive (by his own account), yet he still contained himself to the limited repetitive notes we know so well from the mesmer­izing musical score. Lapine had studied the impressionist movement and even visited the site — an overcrowded, very urbanized Île de la Grande Jatte overloaded with modern high buildings. Georges Seurat pushed himself to understand a scientific method for

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achieving something utterly new that enchants us still. Sondheim and Lapine added another unforgettable layer to our perceptions and imaginative re-creation of that shimGeorges Seurat, “La Poudreuse,” (1890). mering, unsettled society that mixes high and low life Courtland Institute of Art. in late 19th-century Paris and then juxtaposed it to the “art of making art” in our own frantic, deal-making times.

Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters starred in the 1984 Broadway premiere of “Sunday in the Park with George.” Photo by Martha Swope.

by Neal Hampton Associate Professor of Music

Sondheim on the music: “Seurat experimented with the color wheel the way one experiments with a scale. He used complementary color exactly the way one uses dominant and tonic harmony. ... Pointillism is in the instrumentation and accompaniment. It seemed effective to use rhythm to reflect putting dots on the canvas.”

connection with his dead wife drives him to a revengeful rampage. Bobby, the perennial bachelor in “Company,” can’t commit to a relationship. Georges Seurat’s fictional obsession with painting alienates his mistress; then three generations later, Seurat’s greatgrandson returns to Paris in an attempt to reconnect with lost artistic passion.

I’ll never forget the first Sondheim musical I saw. It was the first national tour of In this musical, more than in any of his others, Sondheim seems to speak directly to “Sweeney Todd,” starus. Georges sings mostly to the audience, rarely addressing other characters in ring George Hearn and song. The parallels between composer and his subject, of an artist pushing boundAngela Lansbury, aries at the expense of public favor, seem especially clear. Like Seurat, Sondheim and it came to has his detractors — some have dismissed his music as too intellectual, lacking Philadelphia when I was warmth, not “hummable.” He addresses this in the song “No Life,” in which a home on break from college. I’ve seen the show couple languidly dismisses one of Seurat’s paintings: “All mind, no heart, no several times since, and it remains one of my favorite life in his art.” works of musical theater. I love the sophistication of Sondheim’s music and the ambiguity and wit of his lyrics. But I find great life in Sondheim’s choices, both musical and dramatic. (In There is an ironic — some might say postmodern — sensibilfact, many of his songs are about the act of choosing and the conseity to his work, which I find extremely interesting. Of course, quences.) From my own ventures composing for the musical theater, the craft is impeccable. I know that the hardest choices to make are where to sing (has the character earned the right?) and, then, what to sing about. If either Sondheim has said he conscientiously tries not to do the same of these is wrong, then whatever song you write probably won’t thing twice (“If you are broken-field running, then it’s harder for work in the show. Sondheim said that characters should sing people to hit you with tomatoes”). “Sunday in the Park with George,” when they become too anxious for their words to be contained which some believe is his masterpiece, sounds unlike anything else by speech. Sondheim wrote. It draws inspiration from minimalist music, specifically the work of composer Steve Reich, who pioneered the genre. Listen In “Sunday in the Park,” when the young artist fears that he to how the musical accompaniment of “Finishing the Hat” captures the has lost his way, Dot advises, “Stop worrying if your vision spare pointillism of George’s brushstrokes, which are subsequently echoed is new. Let others make that decision, they usually do. ... in Dot’s powdering her face. George sings “more red,” Dot sings “more Anything you do, let it come from you — then it will be rouge” — two artists at their respective canvases. Brilliant.  new.” Quintessential Stephen Sondheim, and great advice for creative artists of any age. Musical styles aside, “Sunday in the Park’s” struggle for emotional connection is a theme that recurs throughout Sondheim’s canon. Sweeney Todd’s loss of

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Brandeis Theater Company Through its innovative productions, the Brandeis Department of Theater Arts sets the stage for the future of America theater. Productions are held on two stages in the Spingold Theater Center. Tickets are $18/$20; $9/$10 for students. Enjoy the four-play season for $55/$65. To purchase tickets, go to Brandeis Tickets in Shapiro Campus Center, call 781-736-3400 or visit

Three Sisters By Anton Chekhov Adaptation by Tracy Letts Directed by Adrianne Krstansky Featuring guest artists Janet Morrison and Craig Mathers Sept. 30–Oct. 10 East Coast premiere!

Theater Clubs The Undergraduate Theater Collective presents student-produced plays and musicals in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater. Tickets are $3–$5 and are available at Brandeis Tickets in the Shapiro Campus Center, at 781-736-3400 and online at

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Tympanium Euphorium (2010) Photo by Asher Krell

The enduring classic about a family’s dreams and the fragile ties that hold them together. Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award– winning author of “August: Osage County,” has created a compelling new adaptation of Chekhov’s 1900 drama. Irina, Masha and Olga long to find grace in the modern world and return to the happiness they knew as children in their native Moscow. Through their journey of love and loss, they come to realize the true meaning of home.

Sunday in the Park with George Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by James Lapine Directed by Scott Edmiston Musical direction by Todd Gordon Nov. 18–21

Little Monsters By Maria Alexandria Beech Feb. 17–20, 2011

The Winter’s Tale Hold Thy Peace Nov. 11–14 Delight in Shakespeare’s bittersweet fable of marriage, betrayal, redemption — and the changing seasons of love.

black Comedy/White Lies Hillel Theater Group Nov. 18–21 Two one-acts by Peter Schaffer (“Equus”; “Amadeus”): A party where mishaps abound during an electrical blackout; and a fortuneteller whose clients’ futures are stranger than truth.

Join the international celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday. In this Pulitzer Prize– winning musical, the life of Georges Seurat and his most famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” come vividly to life. Through light, color and harmony, discover surprising truths about making art, seeing art and how art connects our lives … dot by dot.

Please Don’t Attend This… Boris’ Kitchen Dec. 3–4 Professional and collegiate troupes perform original sketch comedy in this annual festival of irreverence, impertinence and utter disrespect. Mature audiences.

A workshop production of a new play produced in cooperation with off-Broadway’s Primary Stages. Possibly gifted poet Sara and her hypochondriac mother live in constant struggle, motivating Sara to find a relationship and a way out. But in her pursuit of the perfect mate through Internet dating, is she really looking for herself?

An irreverent, affectionate satire of teen angst and anomie. America’s most-beloved comic strip kids are now in high school. CB’s dog is dead, his best friend Van is a quasi-intellectual pothead and his once-sunny sister is a brooding Goth outsider. Augh! Not so good grief all around. Mature themes and language abound in this breakout hit from the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival.

The Wild Party Tympanium Euphorium Oct. 28–31 Bootleggers, flappers and other devotees of booze and jazz invite you to indulge your appetite for divine decadence in this musical set in the 1920s.

Performing Arts Clubs Brandeis is home to more than 30 arts and culture student clubs, including a cappella groups; improv comedy teams; and ballet, folk, modern, hip hop and ballroom dance troupes. Through the Intercultural Center, students of international backgrounds present performances that celebrate their diverse cultural traditions. For more information, visit

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead By Bert V. Royal Directed by Summer L. Williams April 28–May 1

The 2010–11 Brandeis Theater Company season is made possible through generous support from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Laurie Foundation, the Brandeis Arts Council, the Poses Fund and the Robin, Barbara and Malcolm L. Sherman Endowment for the Performing Arts.


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music Professional Concerts The Brandeis Department of Music hosts an exceptional series of professional concerts each year featuring faculty and visiting artists. Professional concerts begin at 8 p.m. in Slosberg Music Center. Tickets are $20 general, $10 for Brandeis community ($5 off when purchased in advance) and $5 for students. Purchase tickets online at, or call Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400.

Joshua Gordon and Randall Hodgkinson Passionately Modern: Music for Cello and Piano After World War II Sunday, Oct. 3, 3 p.m. “Admirable chamber musicians who play with passion and sensitivity.” —The New York Times

Revisit the great modernist era with Lydian String Quartet cellist Joshua Gordon and pianist Randall Hodgkinson, who bring their trademark balance, harmony and rhythmic precision to Benjamin Britten’s Sonata in C major, op. 65 (1961), Gunther Schuller’s Duo Concertante (1946) and Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata in C major, op. 119 (1949). Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble New Friends/New Sounds Saturday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m. 7 p.m. preconcert reception Tickets for Dinosaur Annex are $20 (general) and $15 (students and seniors) and are available exclusively online at or at the door. “Thoroughly entertaining … and altogether exceptional.” —The Boston Globe

Experience Boston’s premier contemporary music ensemble, passionately dedicated to presenting the finest music by living composers under the artistic direction of Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin and Brandeis faculty member Yu-Hui Chang. The program includes “Wick” by Pulitzer Prize winner Melinda Wagner; Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez’s “Trio-Variations,” inspired by Paul Klee’s “twittering machines”; the kaleidoscopic “Little Bits” by Stacy Garrop; Keeril Makan’s explosive “2”; and Andrew Waggoner’s Hurricane Katrina-related “Soon, the Rosy-Fingered Dawn.” Lydian String Quartet 30th Anniversary Celebration Gala Concert: Saturday, March 26, 2011 Celebrate the artistry of Brandeis’ exceptional resident quartet. For 30 years, the Lydians have received international acclaim for uniting the rich European and American quartet tradition with their own interests in contemporary and world music. Beginning in January 2011, Daniel Stepner, Judith Eissenberg, Mary Ruth Ray and Joshua Gordon will present an exquisite new series of concerts. For more information, visit


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MusicUnitesUS Music can widen the path to social justice and peaceful coexistence in the global community. This academic year, MusicUnitesUS presents two residencies by world-renowned musicians. In October, Group Saloum brings Senegalese mbalax to the Afropop world stage, and, in March, Simon Shaheen blends Arabic tradition with classical and jazz into a border-crossing hybrid. Join the exploration through concerts, workshops and open classes on related topics. For a full residency schedule, visit World Music concerts begin at 8 p.m. in Slosberg Music Center and are preceded by a free lecture at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 general, $15 for Brandeis community ($5 off when purchased in advance) and $5 for students. Purchase tickets online at BrandeisTickets, or call Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400.

Lamine Touré and Group Saloum Residency: Oct. 13–16 Concert: Saturday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m. “A hard-hitting dance mix that delivers both percussive fury and joyful uplift. This is the African music of the future.” —Afropop Worldwide

Traditional and popular African dance music ignite with elements of jazz, funk and reggae. Lamine Touré is widely recognized as one of Senegal’s leading percussionists, and his nine-piece ensemble crackles with the sabar drums that form the backbone of the Senegalese sound, made famous to U.S. audiences by Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal. Born into a family of sabar drummers, Lamine Touré is a key figure in the Senegalese music scene and has performed throughout Africa, Europe and North America. This worldwide travel inspired him to introduce jazz, funk and reggae rhythms into the Senegalese mbalax genre. Curating the residency is Patricia Tang, associate professor of music at MIT, a specialist in West African music and founder and codirector of Rambax, MIT’s Senegalese drum ensemble.

Simon Shaheen and Friends Residency: March 10–12, 2011 Concert: Saturday, March 12, 8 p.m. “Ecstasy best describes the exquisite performance given by [this] virtuoso.” —Detroit Times

Nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, Palestinian oud and violin player Simon Shaheen is one of the most significant Arab musicians of his generation. His music reflects his Arabic legacy while it forges new frontiers, embracing Western jazz and classical styles. The 2010–11 MusicUnitesUS residencies and world music concerts are made possible in part by a grant from the Brandeis Arts Council and by the CDQ Charitable Trust.

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Fretwork Birds on Fire: Jewish Music of the Italian Renaissance Saturday, Nov. 13, 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general public, $10 for Brandeis community ($5 off when purchased in advance) and $5 for students. Purchase tickets online at, or call Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400.

The finest viol consort on the planet.” —The London Evening Standard

The acclaimed British viol consort Fretwork performs music by Salamone Rossi and other Jewish composers of the Renaissance as well as a new commission, “Birds on Fire,” by the innovative contemporary composer Orlando Gough, known around the world for his work for ballet and theater.

Fretwork’s repertoire draws from the Jewish composers expelled from Spain in 1492, who flourished in their new court and theatrical venues and created vigorous English dances, Dutch fantasies and Baroque Italian flourishes. Gough’s “Birds on Fire” draws on Klezmer and Viennese

themes to evoke the interplay of Jews and gentiles in Austria at a time of impending tragedy. Made possible by a grant from the Brandeis Arts Council.

Rossi’s Renaissance By Seth Coluzzi / Assistant Professor of Music

At the turn of the 17th century, musician Salamone Rossi had a unique privilege among Jews in Mantua, a small dukedom in northern Italy: he did not have to wear the yellow badge that signified Judaism. Rossi (c1570–c1630) prospered as a composer and performer of secular music for the ducal court of Mantua as well as the Jewish theater, and he was seen in his own day as the herald of a renaissance in Jewish music. But with his 1623 publication “Hashirim Asher Lish’lomo,” a collection of 33 choral settings of sacred Hebrew texts, he drew harsh criticism from the Jewish community. Music for the synagogue — improvised melodies based on ancient chants — had remained essentially unchanged for centuries. Thus, instrumental and choral music was banned from the synagogue both as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the ancient temple Bet HaMikdash and to preserve the traditional chants and modes from gentile influences.

Rossi’s is the first publication of music with Hebrew texts (the texts are written in reverse to accord with the left-to-right arrangement of the music) and the first printed example of choral music for the synagogue liturgy. The music proves a true synthesis of the two worlds in which Rossi lived, essentially transplanting the prevailing styles of the Italian madrigal and canzonetta into the synagogue. But even the passionate defense of the Venetian Rabbi Leon Modena that prefaced the collection could not spare Rossi from censure — censure that deterred any other composer from following in his path until the 19th century. Rossi’s works form only part of the program featuring Jewish music for viols by the renowned ensemble Fretwork (a repertory explored recently by Brandeis’ own Early Music Ensemble). While perhaps not all so entrenched in controversy, each work offers its own synthesis of cultures and styles, from a family of Venetians composing for the British royal court in 16th-century London (Joseph and Thomas Lupo) to contemporary minimalist composer Orlando Gough.

Orlando Gough (b. 1953) is one of the United Kingdom’s most important composers for ballet, contemporary dance and theatrical projects. Gough’s works include “Tall Stories,” a staged song-cycle for choir about immigration to New York in the early 20th century; “The Singing River” for 12 choirs, 18 boats, two cranes and a locomotive; and “Open Port,” the closing event of the Stavanger 2008 European Capital of Culture, for 750 singers, brass band and wooden trumpets.

Photo by Chris Dawes 10

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State of the arts | brandeis university


visual arts Brandeis Student

Rose Art Museum

Ensemble Concerts Brandeis’ outstanding student ensembles perform music ranging from classical to Renaissance to contemporary jazz. All student concerts take place in Slosberg Music Center, unless otherwise noted, and are free and open to the public.

Brandeis Wind Ensemble Sunday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m. Ground control to Major Tom … blow your mind with music from outer space. Thomas Souza, director. Brandeis–Wellesley Orchestra Sunday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m. Liszt’s “Hungarian Fantasy,” Hindemith’s “Der Schwanendreher” and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1, featuring winners of the 2010 Concerto Competition: Hannah Saltman ’12, viola, and Sang-Hee Min (Wellesley ’11), piano. Neal Hampton, conductor.

Music Fest Sunday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m. A highlight of Fall Fest weekend! Experience the Brandeis music ensembles in an afternoon of harmonic convergence. Brandeis University Chorus Saturday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Program includes Mozart’s rich, festive and delicate Coronation Mass, K. 317. James Olesen, director. New Music Brandeis Saturday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. World premieres of new music from Brandeis’ renowned graduate composition program. Brandeis University Chamber Choir Sunday, Nov. 14, 4 p.m. Music by the Renaissance composer William Byrd, including “Mass for Four Voices.” James Olesen, director.


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Brandeis Early Music Ensemble Saturday, Dec. 4, 8 p.m. The Italian madrigal “La Mantovana,” which made its way through history to become Israel’s national anthem (“Hatikvah”) and other works from the early Renaissance, on period instruments. Sarah Mead, director.

improv Collective Monday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m. As Nina Simone said, “It ain’t been made up yet.” Tom Hall, director. Chamber Music Ensembles Tuesday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Classical music at its most intimate. Judith Eissenberg, director. Messiah Sing Wednesday, Dec. 8, 4 p.m. Shapiro Campus Center Atrium Hallelujah! Join the Brandeis University chorus and Brandeis–Wellesley orchestra, along with a campus full of fellow music lovers, for our annual celebration. New Music Brandeis Saturday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m. World premieres of new music from Brandeis’ renowned graduate composition program.

“Source/Resource,” 2010, Michael Dowling Brandeis Jazz Ensemble Sunday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m. Who’s afraid of the big band Monk? The coolest ensemble on campus plays music made famous by the Thelonious Monk Big Band of the early 1960s, arranged by Oliver Nelson. Bob Nieske, director.

The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis is home to one of the most extraordinary art collections of any academic institution. The collections spans the past century in Western art, from the early European and American modernists up to the 21st century. When not on view, the permanent collection is used as a teaching resource and is available by appointment for scholarly use. The Rose is free and open to the public. Visit or call 781-736-3434.

Source/ReSource Rose Lawn Through Oct. 31 For the 2010 Festival of the Creative Arts, Brandeis commissioned Source/ReSource, a public artwork by Boston artist Michael Dowling. The Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence, Dowling found his inspiration in the continuing cycle of generations that come to Brandeis — the source — and return to the world as a resource for vision, justice, creativity and social change. The festival opening ceremony at Source/ ReSource brought the Brandeis community together for performances of theater, dance and music; spiritual blessings; and a meaningful celebration of our shared values as a community.

Art of New York: The Rose at Brandeis House Brandeis House Opening Nov. 3 Brandeis House, the alumni meeting place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is the site of a special New York–themed exhibition cosponsored by the Rose Art Museum and the Alumni Association. The exhibition includes works from the Rose collection that depict life in the city, by artists including George Bellows, Fletcher Martin and Max Weber, and contemporary works by Noel Mahaffey and Richard Estes. For more information, call 212-472-1501.

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Regarding Painting Rose Art Museum Opening Oct. 7 This fall, a selection of major paintings are on view in the Foster Gallery. “Painting” refers to the act and the object, and the exhibition examines both. Visitors are encouraged to look closely — to revel in the physical properties of the medium, consider how the form of a painting intersects with its content, gain access to the artists’ processes and ideas, and realize their own crucial role in finding a painting’s meaning.

Rose Art Museum Opening Oct. 7 The ancient Greeks understood the power of transition that water holds. From liquid to solid to vapor, water is the symbol for metamorphosis. In Taoist tradition, water is considered an aspect of wisdom, shaping itself to what contains it and moving in the path of least resistance. “WaterWays,” an exhibition selected from the Rose’s permanent collection, invites viewers to consider water as subject, metaphor and muse.

On view are works by a range of artists using a variety of techniques. Some painted waterscapes in situ, poetically exploring the relationship between ocean and land, water and earth. Others used the fluidity of their medium to express color and mood, throwing paint (like the abstract expressionists) to achieve “action painting” or pouring it onto the canvas (like the color field painters), allowing the paint to soak and pool onto the surface.

We cannot go far from water. The recent tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico is something that affects us deeply, that registers in the water table of our own bodies. In one way or another, the artists in “WaterWays” have embraced that aspect of themselves through their work. Featured artists include William Kentridge, Rona Conti, Fairfield and Eliot Porter, Annette Lemieux and John Marin.

Forget It! Forget Me! 1962 Roy Lichtenstein Gevirtz-Mnuchin Purchase Fund © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

“View of Barred Islands,” 1970, Fairfield Porter (1907–1975). Oil on canvas. Herbert W. Plimpton Collection. Courtesy of Hirschl & Adler Galleries New York.

Roy Lichtenstein found his raw material in the world of pulp comic books, elevating the low-art genre into high art through a process of selection and exaggeration. By removing panels from their narrative context and enlarging them into epic proportions, he made them at once iconic and fraught with mysterious meaning. “Forget It! Forget Me!” is rendered in his signature style. The ostensible subject matter, the story of a relationship gone sour, is immediately apparent, but without the panels extending on their side, the single moment remains inexplicable. Lichtenstein pays tribute to the graphic power of these mass-market productions while simultaneously deflating the rhetoric and pretensions of high art by replacing them with obviously canned emotions and stilted dialogue. Ironically, though Lichtenstein borrowed his material from the word of cheap, mass-produced images, his signature distillations have now become a shorthand signifier of “high art” that can be used to impart instant glamour to commercial products. -—Miles Unger ’81 From “The Rose Art

Fairfield Porter was a painter and a noted art critic. His paintings reveal an understated extraordinariness found within everyday moments. He was primarily self-taught, and his use of bold pools of color, merged with a realist sensibility, serves to highlight the subtle moods of his subjects. Much of Porter’s body of work is set within wooded areas of Maine and the Hamptons, and it largely captures portraits of friends and family, homes and their interiors, and the surrounding landscapes. His approach to image making is plainly revealed by his own words: “When I paint, I think that what would satisfy me is to express what [Pierre] Bonnard said Renoir told him: Make everything more beautiful.”—Samara Minkin ’94

Museum at Brandeis.” New York: Abrams, 2009.

From “The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis.” New York: Abrams, 2009.


brandeis university | State of the Arts

State of the arts | brandeis university


women’s studies research center Kniznick Gallery The Kniznick Gallery at the Women’s Studies Research Center is where research, art and activism converge. Located in the Epstein Building at 515 South Street (across from the Brandeis/Roberts train station), the gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call 781-736-8102 or visit

Meet three young alumni with three different answers to the question “What do you do with an art history degree?” Reported by Ingrid Schorr, office of the arts

Many notable critics, curators and writers have graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Brandeis, including Adam Weinberg ’77, director of the Whitney Museum of Modern Art; Kim Rorschach ’78, director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; and author Miles Unger ’81. The current generation is exploring art in unexpected places, through new technologies, and is definitely not letting the economy get them down.

Sarah Brin ’08: Expanding Vision I believe that in order to make a life in the arts, you have to combine thinking and doing. So to get a bigger picture of a time period or region, I would plan themes for my undergraduate semesters, like Russia, or modernism. And to learn how to solve real-life problems and manage projects, I worked at the Rose Art Museum and with the Festival of the Creative Arts, which gave me responsibility as well as the space to experiment and figure out what kinds of things I liked to do. The emphasis at Brandeis on social justice and pluralism influenced my desire to move toward art as social practice and away from the mega-museum, gigantic biennial phenomenon. Now I’m in a graduate program in art and curatorial practice at the University of Southern California that focuses on challenging the traditional ideas of what a museum can be, as well expanding art’s reach to historically excluded publics.


No Man’s Land: The Women of Mexico

Artist Talk and Video Screening

Through December 16 Artist’s Reception: Tuesday, Nov. 9, 5–7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m.

This exhibition of color photographs by photojournalist Dana Romanoff explores the changing role of women in rural Oaxaca, Mexico, who become sole breadwinners for their households when their husbands and sons emigrate to the United States in search of work. The traditional culture of machismo gives way to a new structure the women call “pura mujer” — purely women. Romanoff’s work as a freelance photographer and multimedia producer has appeared in numerous magazines, anthol­ ogies and newspapers and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dana Romanoff offers a historical context for immigration between Mexico and the United States, illustrated by her photographs. She will also screen her documentary “No Man’s Land: The Women of Mexico,” which was short-listed for the 2010 Anthropographia Multimedia and Human Rights Award and has been shown at film festivals around the world.

brandeis university | State of the Arts

My research interest is in interactivity, especially in public spaces. So maybe I already have my dream jobs! I cofounded and curate Artfronts, which installs artworks in unoccupied retail space around Los Angeles, and I’m helping design an alternative reality game at the Hammer Museum that will send museum-goers in search of real-life information in physical space. At school, I direct the Hillel Gallery, which means a lot to me because of my family’s history of Jewish leadership and social action in Los Angeles. Eventually I’d like to get a Ph.D. in something like critical studies or modern thought, because teaching is important to me. In a perfect world, I could get paid to read the Internet and get people excited to make things and to be nice to each other.

Adam Green ’07: Pop-Up Man My roommate dragged me to my first art history class, Jonathan Unglaub’s Renaissance course. It really appealed to me, and I ended up majoring in art history and economics. A career in art did not occur to me until my senior year, when I interned for Kimberly Dorazewski, the registrar at the Rose. Handling and caring for the Rose’s superb permanent collection was both inspiring and humbling. Then one day I came across a stack of auction catalogs. I already loved and appreciated art aesthetically. Now I was curious as to why artworks, like more traditional assets, had prices that shifted due to economic factors as well as changes in artistic taste. The art market, I decided, would be a fascinating field. The next step was a master’s in art business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and now I work at Christie’s in New York and produce a podcast on the art market for ArtTactic. You might think that this is a terrible time to enter the business. Actually, the economic downturn and the resulting plethora of vacant retail spaces all over Manhattan inspired my business partner and me to open a so-called pop-up gallery, taking a cue from the short-term specialized retail stores around the city. After talking to nearly 100 real estate firms, in March we found month-to-month space just south of the Flatiron building and opened Volume Black. We’ve held three group exhibitions so far of work by emerging artists from both within and outside of New York. Recently the art market has showed substantial signs of recovery, far sooner than most within the industry had anticipated. It will be interesting to watch over the next three or four months to see whether this growth is sustainable or whether a double-dip is imminent.

State of the arts | brandeis university


the art of the matter Helene Lowenfels ’05: Seeker of the Obvious and the Obscure Growing up in New York City, I’ve always taken friends and family on art tours, and I figured if I’m doing it anyway, I should start my own business conducting custom tours for the general public.

Brandeis University’s 2010 honorary doctoral degree recipients included singer/ songwriter Paul Simon, who performed “The Boxer” at the main commencement and spoke at the School of Creative Arts commencement in Spingold Theater Center.

With NYC Art Tours, I lead people to both the obvious and the obscure. We’ll look at contemporary art in the Chelsea galleries, then a walk to the new High Line greenway, where we discuss how its architecture has changed the urban landscape. We visit the auction houses, which hold elaborate, museum-quality exhibitions that you can take your time looking at (unlike at blockbuster museum shows). Some of the best architecture in New York is in the Midtown office buildings, and you don’t need to be an employee or a vendor, you can just walk in.

The Rose Art Museum welcomes Kristin Parker and Dabney Hailey to the staff. Parker, the collections manager and registrar, previously worked at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where she was archivist, collections manager and manager of the contemporary art and public programs department. Hailey, the director of academic programs, comes

Prospect I and II March–April 2011 Experience the imaginations and technique of the accomplished postbaccalaureate studio artists. Two exceptional group shows feature original work in painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking.

Brushes with Greatness Dec. 1–Jan. 28 Reception: Dec. 1, 5–7 p.m. Enjoy paintings, prints and drawings by gifted undergraduate artists.


brandeis university | State of the Arts

Dimensions 2 and 3 February 2011 Travel to new dimensions in painting, drawing, sculpture, 3D design and photography.

The Boston Lyric Opera commissioned Richard Beaudoin, Ph.D.’08, to compose a chamber opera to be performed in February 2011.

Debra Granik ’85 directed and cowrote “Winter’s Bone,” which received the Grand Jury Prize and the award for best screenplay at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

At Brandeis, I took advantage of every opportunity to bring people and art together. I curated the Rose’s student loan collection, taught Waltham children at the museum, and planned gallery trips for undergraduates. I still use all my books and readings from my art history courses. I’ll never give up my “Janson’s History of Art!”

The Brandeis Department of Fine Arts invites students to experience art as both scholarship and a process of creation. It offers programs in studio art and art history, and its postbaccalaureate program is recognized as one of the finest in the country. Student exhibitions are held in the Dreitzer Gallery at the Spingold Theater Center and are free and open to the public. Visit

Shakespeare Company’s production of “Othello,” directed by Steve Mahler (“Love’s Labour’s Lost,” BTC 2010) with production management by Brandeis’ Leslie Chiu.

Allan Keiler, professor of music, received the 2010 Dean of Arts and Sciences Mentoring award. Keiler also appeared in a television documentary about the singer Marian Anderson.

Whether my clients are young law associates or families or students, ultimately I want them to have a better understanding of art historical themes and concepts. I do my research, but it’s not just about me being scholarly. I also give them a chance to think aloud, ask questions and, of course, have fun.

Brandeis student Art Exhibitions

J. Bernard Calloway, M.F.A.’00, made his Broadway debut in “Memphis,” winner of the 2010 Tony Award. Also on Broadway was Mary Faber ’01, featured in “Green Day’s American Idiot” (nominated for Best Musical Tony). Sheldon Best ’08 starred off-Broadway in “Freed” as John Newton Templeton, the first African-American to attend a Midwestern college.

Michele L’Heureux is the new director of visual arts at the Women’s Studies Research Center and curator of exhibitions in the center’s Kniznick Gallery. In June, she curated “Out of Order” at the Narrows Gallery in Fall River, Mass. Mitchell Bloom ’84 was named the assistant resident costume designer at the Metropolitan Opera. He has been designing for Broadway for more than 20 years; recent productions include “Mary Poppins,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Movin’ Out.” The Independent Music Awards honored clarinetist Oran Etkin ’01 with “Best World Beat CD” for his debut album “Kelenia,” which fuses traditional Malian and Jewish music with modern jazz. Etkin’s recent performance venues include Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub and the Knitting Factory.

Seeing the Future: The Class of 2011 May 4–22, 2011 Celebrate the extraordinary talents of the graduating artists in a group show featuring their year’s work.

to Brandeis from the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, where she was the Linda Wyatt Gruber ’66 Curator of Painting, Sculpture and Photography.


This summer, Fine Arts faculty members exhibited around the world: Alfredo Gisholt had solo painting exhibitions at Recinto Project Room in Mexico City and the University of Maine Museum of Art; and Markus Baenziger showed sculpture in a group show at With Space Gallery in Beijing.

Office of the Arts Director Scott Edmiston directed Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera “Trouble in Tahiti” for Boston Midsummer Opera, with Susan Davenny Wyner conducting. Theater faculty member Chip Schoonmaker designed the costumes; Janie Howland, M.F.A.’93, designed the set. “Trouble in Tahiti” premiered at the first Brandeis Festival of the Creative Arts in 1952. At a September conference on theater and peace-building held at New York’s La MaMa ETC, Cynthia Cohen, executive director of the Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence, premiered “Acting Together on the World Stage,” a documentary film about artists in conflict regions where theater and ritual practices address injustices and help imagine a new future.

Performance faculty member Adrianne Krstansky and alumna Marianna Bassham, M.F.A.’02, starred in the Commonwealth

State of the arts | brandeis university



calendar highlights

Free Ticket Offers and Email Reminders Join the Arts at Brandeis E-List for the inside scoop on plays, concerts and fine arts at Brandeis, as well as free and discount tickets to arts events in Greater Boston. See

Visiting the Kniznick Gallery Admission is free. The Kniznick Gallery at the Women’s Studies Research Center is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 781-736-8102.

Arts at Brandeis Calendar Online A monthly online calendar with more information and additional programming, including film, dance, lectures and related symposia, is available at

Supporting the Arts To keep the arts at Brandeis accessible and affordable, we rely on the contributions of our community. When you make a taxdeductible gift to the arts at Brandeis, you can direct it to support the Rose Art Museum, the Brandeis Theater Company, the Brandeis Concert Season or the larger arts community through the Office of the Arts. Please show your support by making a donation online at

Purchasing Theater and Concert Tickets To purchase tickets for events at the Spingold Theater Center, Slosberg Music Center or Shapiro Theater, visit BrandeisTickets, call 781-736-3400 or stop by the Brandeis Tickets office in the Shapiro Campus Center, Mondays–Fridays, noon–6 p.m. Tickets are available for pickup or purchase in the lobbies of Spingold, Slosberg and Shapiro one hour before curtain. Reservations are recommended. Any person requiring special or wheelchair accommodations should call Brandeis Tickets at 781-736-3400. Visiting the Rose Art Museum Admission is free. The museum is open Tuesday–Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 781-736-3434.

Parking All major Brandeis arts venues are located on Lower Campus within easy walking distance of each other. Free parking is available directly behind Spingold Theater in the Theater Parking Area (T Lot). There are accessible parking spaces in front of Spingold, Slosberg and the Rose. Programs, artists and dates are subject to change. For updates and additional arts events, visit For directions to Brandeis University, call 781-736-4660 or visit What do you think of State of the Arts? Take a short survey online at and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free Rose Art Museum catalog.


brandeis university | State of the Arts

“Love’s Labour’s Lost,” Brandeis Theater Company (2010). Photo by Chandler Fulton.

Opening Oct. 7


Rose Art Museum

Through Dec. 16

No Man’s Land

Kniznick Gallery

Sept. 30–Oct. 10

Three Sisters

Spingold Theater Center

Oct. 2, 8 p.m.

Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 3, 3 p.m.

Joshua Gordon and Randall Hodginkson

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

World Music Concert: Lamine Touré and Group Saloum

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 17, 1 p.m.

Music Fest

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 23, 8 p.m.

Brandeis University Chorus

Slosberg Music Center

Oct. 28–31

Wild Party

Shapiro Theater

Oct. 30, 8 p.m.

New Music Brandeis

Slosberg Music Center

Nov. 9, 5 p.m.

Artist Reception: No Man’s Land

Kniznick Gallery

Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m.

Dana Romanoff Gallery Talk

Kniznick Gallery

Nov. 13, 8 p.m.


Slosberg Music Center

Nov. 14, 4 p.m.

Brandeis University Chamber Choir

Slosberg Music Center

Nov. 14, 7 p.m.

Brandeis Wind Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Nov. 14–21

JustArts: Staff and Faculty Exhibition

Dreitzer Gallery

Nov. 18–21

Black Comedy/White Lies

Shapiro Theater

Nov. 18–21

Sunday in the Park with George

Spingold Theater Center

Nov. 21, 7 p.m.

Brandeis–Wellesley Orchestra

Slosberg Music Center

Dec. 1–Jan. 8

Student Art Exhibition

Dreitzer Gallery

Dec. 3–4

Boris’ Kitchen

Shapiro Theater

Dec. 4, 8 p.m.

Brandeis Early Music Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Dec. 4–19

José Mateo Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker

Spingold Theater Center

Dec. 5, 7 p.m.

Brandeis Jazz Ensemble

Slosberg Music Center

Dec. 6, 7 p.m.

Improv Collective

Slosberg Music Center

Dec. 8, 4 p.m.

Messiah Sing

Shapiro Campus Center

Dec. 11, 8 p.m.

New Music Brandeis

Slosberg Music Center

State of the arts | brandeis university


State of the Arts Fall 2010  
State of the Arts Fall 2010  

The bi-annual Brandeis arts magazine, State of the Arts, explores the role of art in society, celebrates the achievements of students, facul...