Job and Friends
Adi Nes
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School

Nationhood is a luxurious affront to those with no home: first comes survival. As a project with an Israeli pedigree, Adi Nes's Biblical Stories mines the Old Testament, a source of his nation's ethical substrate, to produce a remarkably resonant study of the look of dispossession as it descends on the faces of his compatriots. His Biblical Stories (fourteen separate portraits) offers a more diversified panorama than his earlier work, which focused almost exclusively on depictions of masculinity within contemporary Israel, and though the Old Testament abounds with testimonies of heroic individual and collective attainments within the saga of the Jewish people, Nes sees (and so visualizes head-on) these narratives as parables of adversity and expulsion.

The literary critic George Steiner once wrote that the triumph of modernism in Western culture could be defined in terms of the withdrawal of the Old and the New Testaments from the common currency of recognition among an educated, if not necessarily religiously observant, public. But despite Israel's uncertain, and certainly not unopposed, path towards conducting itself as a secular society, the Old Testament remains its commanding urtext, a living trove of stories and testimonies giving the nation nothing less than the origin and early history of its people. Nes reads these stories in terms of the great Jewish themes of exile and exodus, themes that would animate his Biblical Stories when he became preoccupied by the daunting extent of indigence and homelessness he'd come to experience in his hometown of Tel Aviv. — Bill Horrigan, Wexner Center for the Arts

When I started the project four years ago, I wondered what happens after everything's been erased. If I ignore that I'm gay, I ignore that I grew up in a Sephardic family, I ignore that I grew up in a development town, I ignore that I'm an artist - what is the main thing in my own identity? I thought that the first layer that would exist is Judaism-that I can't run away from my Jewish identity. But when I finished the project, I found a different answer. I found that humanity, friendship, and being generous and compassionate, these are the last things that I have as a human being. — Adi Nes


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.