Opening January 22, 2019
“Staged Meaning/Meaning Staged” is an exhibition that honors our donors over the last 80 years – since Fisher’s founding at USC in 1939. Beginning with selections from our first major gift from Elizabeth Holmes Fisher, this show displays works from our growing collections. Through the prism of landscapes, from the seventeenth-century into the present, we are examining visual and ideological shifts in pictorial meaning.
Individually, each artwork embodies the aesthetic and pedagogic trends of its original historical context. As an aggregate, the works reflect changing approaches to representing and interpreting art and societal values. Staged Meaning surveys how the old master artists in our collection utilized landscape imagery to stage meaning prescribed by religion, history, allegory, and a nationalist/expansionist ideology. The second part of the exhibition, Meaning Staged, adopts the concept of using landscapes as a vehicle for more individualized meaning, meaning removed from the requirements of these historical contexts. This art shifts meaning making in the way of the art of the modern world and places a heavier responsibility on the viewer. That is, it leaves the viewer no choice but to collaborate individually with the artist in meaning-making, unburdened by conventions of the past.
Among the artists featured are Jacob van Ruisdael, Thomas Cole, Théodore Rousseau, Carlos Almaraz, and Mary Weatherford. Each artist in the exhibition approaches landscape with different intentions but with a pronounced inclusion of what we are calling “the scape.” Staged Meaning/Meaning Staged is the first of two exhibitions celebrating our permanent collections. It is mounted in celebration of Fisher’s 80th anniversary.
The artists featured in Staged Meaning are:
Jan Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Jean Charles Cazin
Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña
Asher Brown Durand
Giovanni Paolo Panini
Aert van der Neer
Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael
Jacob Salomonsz. van Ruysdael
The artists featured in Meaning Staged are: