Slavs and Tatars
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School

The vacuum-formed plastic reliefs in this series by the artist collective Slavs and Tatars reanimate the Poêmes industriels by Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers, alluding to their manufacture as well as their play with language. These dynamic compositions illustrate overlaps in fields such as language, history, and media from origins commonly considered unrelated. Saturday refers to the Hebrew scriptures (called Tanakh) in which slaves were emancipated in their seventh year—the Saturday or Shabbat year—after six years of labor. Overlapping triangular sixes form a Star of David at the center, each accompanied by “+” and “1” to signify seven. This arrangement is flanked on either side by the word manumission, which was the act or document emancipating a slave, expressed in Greek on the left, and translated into the Hebrew alphabet on the right.


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.