On March 18, 1990, at 1:24 a.m., two thieves posing as Boston police officers stole 13 artworks estimated at $500 million from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In Rotherwas Project 2, Kota Ezawa brings together these artworks in the historic Rotherwas Room.
Well, sort of...
In his Gardner Museum Revisited, Ezawa has given the disappeared Gardner artworks new life in the form of dynamic and colorful drawings set in glowing light boxes. Included are Ezawa’s unique cartoon-like versions of paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Manet, drawings and sketches by Degas, and a single antique Chinese vase.
These stunning reimaginings are displayed to scale in the Rotherwas room along with an image of an empty frame after the theft and Ezawa’s six-minute animated film of the security tape recorded the night before the largest unsolved art heist in American history.
Kota Ezawa was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1969 and grew up outside of Stuttgart. He received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from Stanford University. Ezawa received the SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2006. He is an Associate Professor of Film and Fine Arts at California College of the Arts. Ezawa lives and works in San Francisco.
The Rotherwas Project is a biannual exhibition series that features artworks by contemporary artists from around the globe in the Mead’s historic oak-paneled room. Creating an installation in situ, living artists will plumb the incongruous notions of time already present in this provocative space, which was originally built for a manor house court in Herefordshire, England.
Commissioned in the early 1600s by the English knight Sir Roger Bodenham, the room was finished in 1611, dismantled in 1731 and shipped to a Fifth Avenue showroom in 1913. The Rotherwas Room made its way to Amherst thanks to the generosity of Herbert Lee Pratt, Class of 1895. Construction of the Mead in 1949 was designed to accommodate this dramatic architectural installation from another time.