Exhibition: Michael Craig-Martin

Reconstructing Seurat

February 10, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Dorothy Johnston Towne Gallery

Conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin trains his eye on George Seurat’s monumental painting Une Baignade, Asnieres (“Bathers at Asnieres”), 1884, one of the most famous pictures in the collection of the National Gallery, London. Moving several steps beyond Seurat’s own remarkably modern reduction of figures into forms, curves and colors, Craig-Martin deconstructs and reconstructs the image through his signature style: his painting, and two sets of related prints, recast the scene of boys on the banks on the Seine through sharp graphic line drawings with a thrilling pop palette. Using computer software to separate the figures from their background, Craig-Martin reconstructed the images, replacing the original colour with his own vivid palette. Originally, this piece was debuted in 2004 and more than a decade later is now being welcomed to the Davis.

Born in Dublin in 1941, Craig-Martin was brought up in the United States, but continued to visit his father’s family in Dublin throughout his childhood. He studied fine art at Yale University, where he met such influential artists as Richard Serra, Brice Marden and Chuck Close. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s, where he became one of the leading figures of the first generation of British conceptual artists. As Professor of Fine Art in Goldsmiths College, London, in the 1970s and ‘80s, Craig-Martin was a key influence on the yBa (Young British Artists) generation including names such as Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and many more. He has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both in Britain and internationally, and has produced installations for the Projects exhibition series at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1991, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, 1994. In 1993 he returned to Goldsmiths College as Millard Professor of Fine Art and in 1998 he represented Britain at the Bienal de São Paulo in Brazil.

Curated by Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director, with generous support from Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis.


Exhibition: Francesc Torres

What Does History Know of Nail Biting?

February 24, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Freedman Gallery

The Davis is pleased to present What Does History Know of Nail Biting?, the latest multi-channel video work from acclaimed Spanish artist Francesc Torres. What Does History Know examines the extraordinary history of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a group of American volunteers who went to fight for the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War (1936-9), juxtaposing recently recovered archival footage of these soldiers and their battles with recent documentation of the sites of major military encounters during the Spanish Civil War.

Francesc Torres was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1948. He lived in Paris and Chicago before moving to New York in 1974, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1989. He has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities, the Spanish Ministry of Culture, and the D.A.A.D. Berliner Kunstprogramm. He has also received a Fulbright Fellowship.

A pioneer of the language of installation art, Francesc Torres (Barcelona, 1948) reflects on the diverse manifestations of culture, politics, memory and power through his multimedia installations, which give him a unique place in the art of the last few decades. Known as a prominent conceptual artist in Spain, Torres reveals a kind of continuity of the avant-garde practices in the eighties and nineties through his work, an aspect often questioned by the media, the institutions and the market.

In 2004, Francesc Torres began to excavate artifacts from an anthropological site that would later become the foundation for his installation of black and white photographs entitled Dark is the Room Where We Sleep. These photographs document the forensic anthropology team that uncovered a mass grave in northern Spain, telling a story of war, violence, and memory. At NYU, Torres held the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair and taught a course entitled "The Art of Memory and the Representation of History." One of his most famous pieces is the installation "Belchite-South Bronx," which is a meditation on the ruins produced by different kinds of “civil war.” 

Curated by Michael Maizels, Mellon Curator of New Media Art, with generous support from the Kathryn Wasserman Davis ’28 Fund for World Cultures and Leadership.

Photo: Francesc Torres. Film Still from What Does History Know of Nail Biting.

Exhibition: Rembrandt

and the Landscape Tradition

February 10, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Freedman Lober Viewing Alcove

Throughout the seventeenth century, Rembrandt van Rijn and his contemporaries explored the genre of landscape as both the setting for and the subject of their work. Dramatic, inviting, wild, and inhabited, the natural settings frame narratives depicted by these artists and become the focus of the works themselves. This exhibition of drawings and prints drawn from the Davis collections examines changing attitudes to nature in the United Provinces and the diverse ways in which landscape both imagined and observed was depicted by Rembrandt and other artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

Van Rijn was a renowned Dutch painter and printmaker in the Dutch Golden Age, which coincided with the European Baroque period. He was known for his skill in portraying light and shadows in a highly realistic manner. Though his portraits constituted a large portion of his work, this exhibition showcases his iconic landscapes of the Dutch countryside.  

Co-curated by Margaret Carroll, Professor of Art, Wellesley College and Meredith Fluke, Kemper Curator of Academic Programs, with generous support from the Mary Tebbetts Wolfe '54 Davis Museum Program Fund.


Princess Vasilisa and The Firebird

Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 12:00pm
Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Auditorium (201)

Wellesley Summer Theatre Company members collaborate on a new and playful interpretation of classic Russian folktales.

Adapted by Marta Rainer, directed by Danny Bolton. 

June 20 (Sat) 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM

June 21 (Sun) 11:00 AM


$5 adults, $3 children. No reservations required.

Exhibition: Edged in Black

Selections from SMS

February 10, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Dorothy Johnston Towne Gallery

Compiled between 1967 and 1968, the SMS series was one of several important experimental ventures that sought to destabilize the boundary between traditional media, while also making work by the day's leading artists accessible to those outside of the collector class. Through the generous gift of Nancy Gray Sherrill '54, the Davis holds the complete portfolio, which includes work by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Kosuth and Roy Lichtenstein alongside music by La Monte Young and Terry Riley. This installation focuses on works of experimental poetry and literature in the portfolio.

Amidst the social and political turbulence of 1968, William Copley, an American surrealist painter and art dealer, created an inventive periodical entitled S.M.S., which informally stood for “Shit Must Stop.” Copley was inspired by the fluxus movement, which encouraged the blending of all aspects of art and life. S.M.S. embodied this philosophy. Each issue was comprised of diverse art pieces, created or adapted by individual artists for the periodical. The artwork ranged from dada to pop art and took many forms of expression, including photography, audio, drawings, and writing. Beginning in February, a new issue was published bimonthly and sent to subscribers throughout 1968. The periodical lasted for a single year.

SMS is an important piece of the history of modern art. First, it removed all boundaries between the mediums. Everything, from poetry to performance to traditional printmaking, received equal treatment. This principle of equality carried over to money matters: every contributor, no matter how illustrious, received a flat $100 for his or her work. Moreover, SMS bypassed the hierarchical labyrinth of museums and established galleries. Portfolios were sent directly to subscribers on the faith that an audience put in immediate contact with art would have a direct and therefore powerful response.

Through the generous gift of Nancy Gray Sherrill, Class of '54, the Davis Museum holds a complete set of the portfolios. This exhibition showcases a selection of interactive work by artists including Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Kosuth and Roy Lichtenstein alongside music by La Monte Young and Terry Riley.

Curated by Michael Maizels, Andrew W. Mellon New Media Curator/Lecturer.

Generously supported by the Anonymous '70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund.

Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 11:00am - 5:00pm

Exhibition: Hanging with the Old Masters

Davis Museum Reinstallation

February 10, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Harold and Estelle Newman Tanner Gallery

Showcasing Old Master Italian paintings under consideration for the upcoming reinstallation of the permanent galleries, many of which have been off view for decades, the fifth floor of the Davis Museum will become a laboratory for the exploration of the curatorial reinstallation process. One wall will be lined with 3D models of the Davis Museum and will afford the campus community and the general public alike transparent access to the reinstallation process. The other three walls on the fifth floor will be devoted to understanding the curatorial process through Old Master Italian paintings. Issues and concerns, including questions of display, conservation, and aesthetics, that inform whether an individual work of art will be included in the reinstallation will be revealed and, hopefully, demystified for the viewer.

Co-curated by Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs/Senior Curator of Collections, and Claire Whitner, Associate Curator.

Presented with generous support from the Sandra Cohen Bakalar '55 Fund and the Mildred Cooper Glimcher '61 Endowed Fund.


WST Presents: Three Sisters

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 7:00pm
Alumnae Hall Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre (111)

Three Sisters is Anton Chekhov’s classic 1901 portrait of Russia’s disappearing aristocratic class and their quest for meaning and fulfillment in the ever-changing modern world. Written in 1900 and first produced in 1901, Three Sisters was Chekhov's first specific commission for the Moscow Arts Theatre.

A year after the death of their father, an army officer, the Moscow-bred Prosorovs, including the three sisters Olga, Masha, Irina, and one brother Andrew, are finding life drab and increasingly hopeless in a provincial Russian town. Only the proximity of a nearby artillery post and the company of its officers make their existence bearable. Each of the sisters is in pursuit of love and happiness, but both of these desires seem increasingly out of reach as the play progresses.

The play has often been described as "the decline of the aristocratic and artistic elite coupled with the search for meaning in a modern world." Chekhov offers us the Prozorov siblings, who are refined and cultured youth, raised in Moscow but living a small and "lifeless" provincial town for the past eleven years. With the recent death of their father Colonel Prozorov, they await a return to Moscow where the "good life" can begin again.

From its initial success to current productions, audiences have responded with enthusiasm to this beautiful collision of envisioned dreams and frustrated hopes as well as the memorable characters of the Prozorov family and their friends, lovers, and acquaintances who populate the stage (pcpa.org).

May 21 - June 21 
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 2:00 PM
(Please note that there will be no June 6 show.)
Please visit the above right link for current show time and ticket information.

Exhibition: Parviz Tanavoli

February 10, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Gerald and Marjorie Schechter Bronfman Gallery, Chandler Gallery

The Davis is proud to present Parviz Tanavoli, the first U.S. museum retrospective exhibition of the artist's work.

Critically acclaimed and widely acknowledged as the "father of modern Iranian sculpture," Tanavoli's trajectory has spanned east and west, as he has innovated ambitiously across media. Best known as a sculptor, his expansive oeuvre also includes painting, printmaking, ceramics, rugs, and jewelry. As well, he is a highly regarded collector, scholar, and poet. This exhibition shares the breadth and richness of his work from the 1960s to the present.

Based in Tehran and Vancouver, Tanavoli (b.1937) was a member of the early 1960s Saqqakhane movement of Iranian artists invested in "Spiritual Pop." Over decades, he has refined a complex system of symbols and motifs into a distinctive visual lexicon, fusing Persian traditions with pop sensibility. As well, his work entwines profound sensitivity to language, formal clarity, and conceptual engagement into a forcefully original artistic practice.

Among his many long-standing projects, heech, initiated in February 1965, and set to celebrate a fiftieth anniversary with the opening of the Davis exhibition perhaps best exemplifies Tanavoli's work. The artist treats the calligraphic script for "heech," the Farsi word for "nothing," to multiple expressions in three dimensions and variable materials from delicate jewelry to polished bronze and hi-gloss fiberglass sculpture. As Tanavoli explains: "Heech is not nothing. It has a body, a shape, but also a meaning behind it." This exhibition surveys Tanavoli's extraordinary career and his work: spiritual, poetical, beautiful, and deeply engaging.

Curated by Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro '37 Director, with Dr. Shiva Balaghi, Brown University.

Presented with generous support from The Maryam and Edward Eisler/Goldman Sachs Gives Fund on Art and Visual Culture in the Near, Middle, and Far East.

Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 11:00am - 5:00pm


Commencement Exercises 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015 - 10:30am
Academic Quad Green

The 2015 Commencement ceremony will be held on the Academic Quad. Tickets will not be required for seating. A live broadcast of the event my be viewed on the college cable television network in Jewett Auditorium, Collins Cinema and Pendleton Hall, and the ceremony will also be streamed live. Guests and live stream viewers will enjoy addresses from President H. Kim Bottomly, student speaker Katie Barsotti, and this year's keynote speaker, award-winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Adichie is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist; a New York Times Notable Book; and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year. She is also author of the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck. Her latest novel is Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, and was named one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year. Adichie’s work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta,The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope, among other publications.

Adichie, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, divides her time between the United States and Nigeria, and her work is inspired by Nigerian history. Adichie spoke on The danger of a single story for a TED Talk in 2009.  Adichie also spoke on being a feminist for TEDxEuston in December 2012 with a speech entitled We should all be feminists. The speech was sampled for the 2013 song "Flawless" by singer Beyoncé, where it attracted further attention.

Please see our 2015 Commencement page for a full schedule of commencement events, and visit our FAQ page for general information and logistics.

Actors From The London Stage

AFTLS present Midsummer Night's Dream

Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 7:00pm
Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Auditorium Foyer (200A), Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Auditorium (201)

Wellesley College welcomes the AFTLS forthe 10th Anniversary performance of Midsummer Night's Dream!