22 May 2017

Harvard Business School Announces New Temporary Public Art Installations for 2017-2018


BOSTON—Three sculptures will be installed on Harvard Business School’s campus in Boston as part of its ongoing contemporary sculpture exhibition, which began in April 2016.

Sculptures by artists Louise Bourgeois and Erwin Wurm will be on loan to Harvard Business School as part of this program and will be on view through next spring. They will join Jaume Plensa’s sculpture Inés (on loan to HBS through November 2017) as well as other sculptures by Mary Frank, John Safer, and Joel Shapiro from the School’s permanent collection.

The exhibition is made possible by the generosity of the artists and their galleries, including Louise Bourgeois' Foundation, The Easton Foundation, Jaume Plensa and the Richard Gray Gallery, and Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin. It is also supported by a gift from an anonymous donor and by Kate Chertavian Fine Art, which provided curation for the exhibition.

The new installations include:

Louise Bourgeois, Eye Benches I, 1996-1997. Photo by Susan Young. © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY

Louise Bourgeois
Eye Benches I, 1996–1997
Black Zimbabwe Granite, a pair
Each: 48 ¾ x 53 x 45 ¼ in.
Collection The Easton Foundation
© The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY
Location: Executive Education Lawn

Louise Bourgeois, Eye Benches II, 1996-1997. Photo by Susan Young. © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY

Eye Benches II, 1996–1997
Black Zimbabwe Granite, a pair
Each: 48 x 77 x 46 ½ in.
Collection The Easton Foundation
© The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY
Location: Spangler Lawn

Known for her large-scale sculptures and installations, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Born in Paris, Bourgeois worked in her family’s tapestry restoration workshop as a young child and then studied mathematics before she enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts. When she was 27, she married American art historian Robert Goldwater and moved to New York City. She studied at The Art Students League in New York and in the 1940s began making sculptures.

As Bourgeois described Eye Benches I and Eye Benches II, “There is a pleasure in sitting outside and watching people walk by. You look at them, and sometimes they look back at you. These encounters and perceptions interest me. In this sense, the Eye Benches relate to the story of the voyeur….Whether it is an eye that sees the reality of things or whether it is an eye that sees a world of fantasy….It is the quality of your eyes and the strength of your eyes that are expressed here. Nobody is going to keep me from seeing what is instead of what I would like.”

In 1982, Bourgeois was the first female artist to have a retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In 1993, she represented the United States at the 45th Venice Biennale. She has been the subject of numerous major exhibitions, including the first exhibition of a living American artist at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in 2001. In 2007, another major retrospective of her work was held at the Tate Modern in London and Centre Pompidou in Paris. During her lifetime, Bourgeois received numerous honors and awards and was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture in 1983. She was awarded the Grand Prix National de Sculpture from the French government in 1991, the National Medal of Arts in 1997, and the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center in Washington, DC. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1981.

Erwin Wurm, Big Disobedience, 2016. Photo by Susan Young. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Erwin Wurm
Big Disobedience, 2016
78 ¾ × 39 ¾ × 39 ¾ in.; 81 ⅛ × 41 516 × 43 516 in. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong
Location: Spangler Lawn

Erwin Wurm’s work anthropomorphizes everyday objects in often unsettling ways and explores the concept of the human body as sculpture. He uses humor and discomfort as a tool to challenge our conventional experiences with art objects, as the artist himself has stated: “[For me] humor is primarily a method for getting people’s attention. It should ultimately prompt people to look at things more carefully.” In Big Disobedience, Wurm uses a large-scale suit, without a body, to stand in for the human form. The title of the work is a play on Henry David Thoreau’s 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience,” and thus the sculpture is a critique of contemporary society. Big Disobedience was first presented at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2016.

Born in Austria in 1954, Wurm graduated from the University of Graz in Austria, in 1977 and the Gestaltungslehre University of Applied Art and Academy of Fine Art in Vienna in 1982. His work is in numerous international public and private collections, including Vienna’s Albertina, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is one of two artists chosen to represent Austria at the 2017 Venice Biennale.


Melissa Renn

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.