Selections from the Collection & Works on Loan
Open Storage reflects on the thematic and chronological breadth of The Bass’ collection, presenting recent contemporary acquisitions and works on loan in conversation with historical works from the museum’s founding collection.
Facilitating dialogues across time, Open Storage draws connections between contemporary works of varying media, including photography, painting and mixed media, with paintings and sculptures that exemplify the Renaissance, Baroque and Modern periods of the 16th through19th centuries. The works also span geographic areas between North and South American, European and African continents. Installed in salon-style groupings, the exhibition explores themes pervasive throughout art history and into the present day, including portraiture and the construction of identity, maternity and the feminine divine, and depictions that express spirituality in everyday life.
Ranging from documentary-style to idealized images, artist self-portraits have existed for millennia. Open Storage offers examples of this genre through time, positing family origins and domestic life as reoccurring and foundational tropes to the formation of personal identity.
A portrait can signify and legitimize personhood, humanity or status, corroborating a place in history. The commissioning and creation of portraits and their subsequent display strategically affects perception of the subject. In Open Storage, the transformative power of portraiture is explored through portrayal of subjugated communities, including previously excluded depictions of Black and queer life, challenging the socio-cultural preconceptions in the museum institution.
The female form is another prominent subject in Open Storage, with works referencing the artistic conventions of pose and presentation of the feminine figure. Additional works evoke and reinterpret religious and mystical iconography, particularly that of the Madonna figure, who often signifies the opposing ideals of maternal protection and virginal purity.
Ever-present in the display and interpretation of Open Storage are the questions: Who is being depicted? By whom? For whom? Open Storage provides a sampling of the myriad figures and identities—real or imagined—that have been rendered by artists over time. These works question whose image may not be represented while imagining what future portraits may look like.
For more information on specific works, visit open-storage.org.