Lasers Writing Out Jewish Senior’s Memory
Shimon Attie
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School

I wanted to give visual form to the personal and collective memories and imaginings of residents of the Lower East Side. I interviewed 75 longtime residents from diverse ethnic backgrounds and age groups who were generous and trusting enough to share their memories. They wrote down their favorite childhood songs, poems, sleeping dreams, wishes, night time prayers, intuitions, and memories of the neighborhood from their youth. Using computer-assisted lasers, excerpts from these texts were then actually written out in blue laser light -- in English, Chinese, Yiddish and Spanish -- over a several week period, inscribing the architecture of the neighborhood with the handwritten memories of its residents. During the project's run, I took long exposure night-time color photographs which are intended as works of art in their own right.
—Shimon Attie


About the collection

Gerald Schwartz 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 1995, Gerry Schwartz and a team from HBS together began purchasing contemporary art for the HBS buildings most frequented by students. Inspired by the growing collection, a small group of MBA students founded the HBS Art Appreciation Society in 2001. It quickly grew into one of the largest student clubs on campus, sponsoring events in Boston area galleries and museums, as well as an annual weekend in Manhattan to meet artists, tour exhibitions, and attend theater. The club's co-presidents accompany Mr. Schwartz on his annual buying trip to purchase additional art for the School's collection.

About Gerald Schwartz, MBA '70

Gerald Schwartz, MBA ’70, is the Founder and CEO of Onex Corporation. He has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada and inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Gerry Schwartz is Vice Chairman and member of the Executive Committee of Mount Sinai Hospital, a director of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, a trustee of The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Chairman of its Canadian Friends, and a governor of Junior Achievement of Metro Toronto. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba, a Masters in Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School, and several Doctor of Laws (Hon.) degrees. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Heather Reisman, founder and CEO of Indigo Books and Music.