Exhibit challenges, engages the narrative

An-My Lê, Small Wars (Rescue), 1999-2002, Gelatin silver print, 26.5 x 38 x 1.25 inches, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Now through Jan. 4, CFAM is presenting a vast array of stimulating contemporary artworks in a show thematically entitled, Fractured Narratives: A Strategy to Engage.

Each work, whether created by an established or emerging artist, attempts to challenge the viewer by seeking response to an array of political, cultural, and psychological issues.

Those familiar with the museum will be taken aback by the transformation the space underwent in order to properly house the collection—which is the first to be exhibited in the museum from the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Added structures are video pieces by William Kentridge and Alfredo Jaar. This extensive effort reflects the need to accommodate the will of contemporary artists—whose effect is established not only through the work itself, but also in its display.

Kentridge’s Second Hand Reading is a video display of an artist book handling concepts of race and identity. As the narrative develops through the animation, the work engages the viewer by asking him or her to actively participate in the artistic development of Kentridge’s vision.

Other established artists in this collection include Jenny Holzer and Maya Lin. Holzer’s Plate 4 directly relates to the show’s theme. The work stems from Holzer’s engagement with declassified U.S. Army documents. In this piece, the only words left from the document are: “These techniques are… water-board.” From this “fractured narrative,” we are left to imagine the connotation and context of this piece—certainly proof that the contemporary visual arts resist direct interpretation.

The collection reflects many of the ideas and topics discussed within a liberal arts setting, and as such proves to be an asset to Rollins students searching to develop, define, and respond to their own unique narratives.

Featured image: An-My Lê, Small Wars (Rescue), 1999-2002, Gelatin silver print, 26.5 x 38 x 1.25 inches, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

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