The Interloper
Charlie White
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School
Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School

Fascinated with how Hollywood makes something real out of the unreal, White works with special effects technicians and live models to recreate the artificiality that in Hollywood passes for reality. He builds the installations with a bunch of Hollywood stereotypes of the kind found in old Partridge Family reruns. The colors are bright, 1970's vintage, as are the situations, except every once in a while, something doesn't fit.

Charlie White doesn't take photographs. He constructs them. Like a Hollywood director, he orchestrates scenes, commissions sets, hires actors, and employs a visual effects team. Then he oversees a grueling postproduction process in which each element of the shoot is digitized, scrutinized, and perfected down to the pixel. In essence, he captures an entire f/x film in one frame.

For The Interloper, White hired scenic artist Jonathan Williams to paint a 24- by 35-inch Kinkade-esque work. The resulting canvas was digitally recorded by a stat camera at Warner Brothers Studios and printed onto a 20- by 36-foot backdrop. White ordered grass and bushes and built the rolling hill in the foreground. The backdrop and set were put together at a photo studio. White commissioned the two puppets with soft features, making each look like an eerie cross between a Muppet and a real child. Over the course of a day, three child actors interacted with the puppets in a variety of scenarios. White shot the scenes on 4- by 5-inch film, and selected more than 20 pictures from the 150 he shot. He then separated out the components he wanted to use and recombined and manipulated them with Photoshop. He superimposed a digital scan of the canvas over the backdrop to have better control and more detail. A lightjet printer output the final image on 3- by 5-foot photographic paper.
-Jenn Shreve


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.