The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University announces the exhibition Positive Fragmentation: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, on view July 14–December 11, 2022, in the Featured Exhibition Gallery. Organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibition features more than 180 works by 21 contemporary artists who employ a strategy of fragmentation in their artistic process.
A notable strength of the exhibition is its focus on women artists of color who have been underrepresented in the museum's permanent collections and in its exhibition program. Artists like Mickalene Thomas challenge historical narratives by creating compositions that echo those of nineteenth-century European painters but through wholly novel techniques and media, combining woodblock, screen-printing and digital photography. Wendy Red Star, a Native American artist of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Tribe, creates colorful, often playful prints that nonetheless convey the struggles of indigenous marginalization and the legacy of European colonization on the continent by fusing appropriated indigenous motifs with images of everyday life on the reservation. Ethiopian-born Julie Mehretu creates large-scale abstract compositions that speak to the traditions of European and American abstraction while compounding these histories with contemporary global concerns regarding climate change and migration.
Derived from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation—one of the largest private print collections in the world—the exhibition was organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) and originally presented at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington, DC. It was curated by Virginia Treanor, PhD, Associate Curator, and Kathryn Wat, Deputy Director for Art, Programs, and Public Engagement and Chief Curator at the NMWA. At the Eskenazi Museum, the exhibition is co-organized by Elliot Josephine Leila Reichert, Curator of Contemporary Art, and Galina Olmsted, Assistant Curator of European and American Art. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
Of the exhibition, Elliot Josephine Leila Reichert, said, “The artworks and artists included in Positive Fragmentation represent a wide range of contemporary practices expressed primarily through printmaking. A visit to this exhibition will open worlds of new artistic possibilities to our audiences here in Bloomington and the region.”
Galina Olmsted, commented, “By bringing together these works by twenty-one women artists, we look forward to introducing our audiences to exciting contemporary work, and we hope to inspire future generations of artists, particularly girls and young women who do not often see themselves reflected in our galleries.”
The Eskenazi Museum of Art is committed to collecting work by women and artists of color. This exhibition has spurred a series of acquisitions of artwork by the featured artists, including Mickalene Thomas and Julie Mehretu, which will diversify our collection and offer new opportunities for study. An exhibition of these recent acquisitions will open at the museum in August.
“We are thrilled to present Positive Fragmentation, one from a series of an ongoing collaboration with Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. I am grateful to Jordan Schnitzer for his continued partnership with the museum, which helps us fulfill our goal of presenting compelling exhibitions with diverse content,” said David A. Brenneman, Wilma E. Kelley Director, Eskenazi Museum of Art.
“I have often said that artists are chroniclers of our times, and we can look to them for guidance, inspiration and motivation to create a more equitable world for all,” says Jordan Schnitzer. “I hope that this exhibition will advance conversations about the role these artists have had in society. Often facing discrimination from major museums, the artists do not just persevere but flourish. It is too bad that some of them are not here today to see the impact of their work and the next generation of women artists who are already some of the most important artists today.”