195 extraordinary works of contemporary art grace the walls of Spangler, Aldrich, Hawes and Shad. These works are the gift of alumnus Gerald Schwartz (MBA 1970). We pass a piece from the collection roughly every five seconds as we crisscross campus each day. They are there to startle, inspire, amuse and provoke us. Most of us should probably stop and look more often.
Alumnus Gerald Schwartz (MBA 1970), founder and CEO of Onex Corporation, believes the presence of provocative art promotes creative thinking, remembering that “artistic presence was the only thing missing at HBS when I went there. I wanted to change that.” In 1998, Gerry Schwartz and a team from HBS together began purchasing contemporary art for the HBS buildings most frequented by students. The collection has grown to include 195 important contemporary works by artists from Israel to Ghana, ranging in medium from traditional oil painting to photography to collage.
The mad pace of life at HBS often keeps us from stopping to look harder and more closely at these works, but they deserve our attention. They are there to startle, inspire, amuse and provoke us. It is our great fortune to go to school in the company of such vibrant pieces, and we owe them a second glance – whether we are in line at the Aldrich snack bar, reading our cases in Spangler or at the gym.
In each forthcoming edition of The Harbus this semester, we will feature one work of art from the collection and ask members from the HBS community what they think and feel, like and dislike. We hope that this ongoing series will facilitate a more engaged and interactive relationship with the art all around us, encouraging the HBS community to stop, look and share more often.
In the meantime, take a virtual tour of HBS and explore some of our favorite pieces on campus.
To learn more about the collection, please visit www.hbs.edu/schwartz for digital images, artist quotes and critical commentary for each work.
Sarah Charlesworth | 2005 | Fuji crystal archive print with hand lacquered frame
Hawes, 2nd Floor
“In my work I am concerned with the ways in which public imagery forms a horizon of possibility, informing our sense of ourselves and of the work, and shaping our experience and expectations. My emphasis has always been active in terms of both drawing attention to and reformulating the visual models by which we picture the world. My work stresses the importance of making, rather than merely reflecting, the values that define our lives.”
Untitled Outtake from The Kitchen Table Series (Lobster)
Carrie Mae Weems | 1999 | Silver gelatin print
Hawes Hall, 2nd Floor (near the elevator)
“My responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful. I want to make things that are beautiful, seductive, formally challenging and culturally meaningful. But somehow I also imagine that, within the confines of the art world, I insert a voice that is somewhat different. It’s a voice that assumes cultural fluidity. I’m also committed to radical social change – that’s the reason themes of social relations recur in my art practice.”
– Carrie Mae Weems, excerpt from Vivian Patterson’s essay, “The Hampton Project”
5 Stains / 10 Whites
Jaq Chartier | 2005 | acrylic, stains and paint on wood panel
Spangler Lower Level (by x)
“Chartier creates sensuous abstract paintings that are a compelling mix of art and science, the visceral and the cerebral, and painstaking trials and fugitive pleasures. Her minimalist compositions of blurred inky lines chart the interaction of stains and dyes as they leach, bloom, bleed, merge, and mutate. The surfaces, composed of painted stains, milky films, and translucent layers, are visually seductive; they are also archives of the artist’s rigorous testing and analysis of her materials.”
-Robin Held, Frye Art Museum
November 29, 1996
Nancy Chunn | 1996 | Ink & pastel on newsprint
Aldrich Hall, 1st Floor (outside the snackbar)
“November. Disaster was in the stars. The winner of the U.S. election went to Disney World, the losers went home, and I went wild filling up the entire surface of the front page with text, stamps, and drawings. The color of the month was a vibrant acid green. The Rwandans began leaving Zaire on October 31 and marched through the 17th of November trying to get back home. A Russian satellite fell to earth, Amtrak derailed, and the hijacked plane from Ethiopia crashed. After that we celebrated Thanksgiving.”
– Nancy Chunn
Amy Wilson | 2004 | acrylic on linen
Aldrich Hall, 2nd Floor
“Wilson’s small, sweet fantasy landscapes look as if they were made by an industrious 12-year-old girl.. Incongruously, the many speech bubbles emitted by both girls and skeletons are filled not with the language of juvenile adventure fiction, but with extended passages of punditry lifted from the pages of magazines like Mother Jones, The Nation, The Weekly Standard and The New Criterion.. After a while, though, it starts to make a certain poetic sense. Maybe primitive and juvenile mythic narratives do underlie the technocratic chatter about complicated national and international disputes that so trouble the world.”
-Ken Johnson, New York Times
Jacques Flechemuller | 2002 | oil on canvas
Aldrich Hall, Lower Level
“I cherish the grain of sand that put the big machine out of order and the wind that postpones the launching of the rocket ship. My work is the result of all these little and big catastrophies, abnormalities and unexpected and abrupt changes in the course of history. Very often my beautiful wife smiles, looking at these silly paintings. And I love when my wife smiles.”
On Via S. Angelo in Pescheria, on-location slide projection, Rome, Italy
Shimon Attie | 2003 | lambda photography
Aldrich Hall Lower Level
“For the project The History of Another, I created a series of on-location slide projections in ancient Rome, specifically in order to be photographed. I projected images of individuals directly onto Roman archaeology and excavation sites. My intention was to create beautiful, ghostly, and evocative images which invite reflections and meditations on history, and which allow viewers to make up their own stories and meaning from each photograph.”
Six Feet Under
David Stewart | 2003 | pigment print
Shad Hall, 2nd Floor (next to bulletin board)
“Stewart’s color photographs instantly draw the viewer’s eye to the simplicity and elegance of his compositions. The figures stand or sit quietly within a palette accented with childlike primary colors. It isn’t until a moment after looking that the viewer realizes the subject is old age. Here, using a post-modernist vision, and his characteristic English humor, the golden years are portrayed with a child’s innocence and an adult’s irreverence.”
– Claudia Monaco, In Camera
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Hayley Barna and Jennifer Hsiao are Co-Presidents of the HBS Art Society.