Steinstrasse 21, Berlin, plate 19 from the series "Writing on the Wall"
Shimon Attie
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Memory has always been very important to me. I have also always responded very strongly to spaces and places. Therefore, it is no surprise that as an artist I am most interested in the relationship between place, memory, and identify and how this relationship might be distilled and articulated through visual and aesthetic means. I am particularly concerned with giving visual form to personal and collective memory, and how histories of marginalized and forgotten communities may be visually introduced into the physical landscape of the present.

I use contemporary media to reanimate sizes with images of their own lost histories. For the Writing on the Wall project, I slide-projected portions of prewar photographs of street life in Berlin onto the same or nearby addresses today. By using slide projection on location, fragments of the past were introduced into the visual field of the present. Thus, parts of long-destroyed community life were visually simulated, momentarily recreated. The projections were visible to street traffic, neighborhood residents, and passersby. As much of my art practice is a marriage between photography and installation art, during the course of the installations, I photographed the projections. -Shimon Attie

Books in the collection

Sites unseen: Shimon Attie European projects:installations and photographs / with an introduction by James Young

The History of Another: 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.