Re:View was a portraiture show honoring Dr. Selma Holo, the Director of the Fisher at Museum at USC. I curated the show at USC Hillel’s art gallery, where I served as the Director for the 2010-2011 school year. The show ran from November 11, 2010 to February 16, 2011. The opening reception featured remarks from Dr. Holo as well as from Rochelle Steiner, Dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts.
Click through to see the curatorial statement, images, and press release.
Curatorial Statement by Sarah Brin
Shortly after telling Selma Holo that we’d like to honor her with an exhibition, I came over to the Fisher to meet with her, and to talk about what kind of work she might like to see in the show. As we tossed around ideas, she walked me through Yousuf Karsh: Regarding Heroes, the exhibition that was on view at the time. I gawked and fawned over Karsh’s portrait photography, and the way he had of capturing what I can only think of as a visual epithet; a snapshot that somehow encapsulated the mythic personalities of leaders, thinkers, and celebrities who’d shaped the twentieth century. And despite the overwhelming awe I felt towards these heroic figures, I couldn’t help but conflate their victories with elements of controversy, gossip, and legacy. The fact that many of these images were often featured in periodicals made me wonder about what sorts of headlines might have come before and after the feature-piece photography, and how they might have mediated the image’s reception.
But despite Regarding Heroes‘ greatness, I still had to put my own show together, and I needed it to somehow be a fitting tribute to Dr. Holo, who was not only the celebrated director of the USC Fisher Museum, but also a cherished educator, an interdisciplinary scholar, a dedicated member of the Los Angeles Jewish community. There was an overwhelming amount of material to work with.
So after thinking about it for a while, I thought it’d be interesting to ask students to respond to the Fisher and Karsh’s work by sharing their own visual epithets–their uniquely complicated and personal visions of the figures who are somehow making an imprint on the way we envision the world.
In tribute to Dr. Holo, I mediated the featured work based on four values that guide her own practice: innovative creativity in form, critical inquiry, respect, and empathy. All of these elements are deeply embedded within the featured work, from Savannah Wood’s critical study of identity and agency; to Daniel Doperalski’s blurred boundaries between journalistic impartiality and profound intimacy; to Chris Hanke’s striking images of the sadhus of Nepal; to Junxian Poon’s delicate rendering of an ancient philosopher whose teachings live on through a tradition of scholarship and reverence; to Brianne Ryan’s lively exploration of the deep community bonds formed around baseball team loyalties; and to Caitlin Disney’s intimate meditations on absence and influence.
I Invite you all to immerse yourselves within the exhibition, to think about the work as citizens of the twenty-first century, to think about what contemporary art says about who we are, and what it might mean to whoever we become.