‘A moment of transformation’ at the Cantor Arts Center

The Cantor Arts Center unveiled new ideas for the 2023-2024 academic year — ideas that include expanding the Asian-American Art Initiative (AAAI) and broadening the scope of artwork to be more inclusive and diverse. 

“At this moment, the museum is at a really exciting place of transformation,” said Christina Linden, director of academic and public programs at Cantor, when describing the museum’s current happenings.

This moment of transformation is marked by new leadership, including Director Veronica Roberts, who began in April 2022.

Deputy Director Marion A. Gill, who began in October 2023 and Linden, who began in October 2022. The moment is also marked by the museum’s growing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“The next few years will be a period of tremendous growth for the Cantor — both programmatically and operationally,” Gill said. 

The Cantor Arts Center is currently displaying a number of varied exhibitions, both permanent and semi-permanent, as well as temporary and loan-based collections. 

“Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered” is a temporary exhibition composed of Hirshfield’s highly stylized pictures of animals, landscapes and nude figures, as well as artwork by other surrealist and self-taught artists. The exhibition is on display until Jan. 21, 2024.

“Imvuselelo: The revival” is another temporary exhibition, showcasing the artwork of South African photographer Sabelo Mlangeni. The exhibition features Mlangeni’s photography of the African Zionism movement, through which his thematic exploration of intimacy and community makes itself apparent. The exhibition is on display until Jan. 21, 2024. 

“The Faces of Ruth Asawa,” a long term exhibition on display since July 2022, features artwork from the museum’s permanent collection. Composed of 233 ceramic face masks of Asawa’s friends, family members and peers, the exhibition explores Asawa’s work within the clay medium.

“The Faces of Ruth Asawa” is the first of three exhibitions relating to the AAAI, a program aimed at highlighting Asian American art and culture through the works of Asian American artists.

The temporary exhibition “Beyond Here: The Judy and Sidney Zuber Collection of Latin American Photography” is on display until Jan. 28, 2024. Curated in a single gallery, the exhibition is composed of 34 works by 20th century Latin American photographers from 10 different countries.

Featured artists include Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, Flor Garduño, Javier Silva Meinel and Marta María Pérez Bravo; their artwork spans from social and political documentation to studio photoshoots.

Other exhibitions from the museum’s permanent collection include “European and American Art: Late Renaissance through 1900,” “Richard Diebenkorn at the Cantor,” “In Dialogue: African Arts” and others.

Liam Tang ‘27 was inspired to visit the museum during this past fall quarter. “The Hirshfield exhibition was absolutely fantastic. Extremely well thought out, and the use of the Mondrian was pure genius,” Tang said, referring to the connection between Hirschfeld’s avant garde artwork and that of artist Piet Mondrian.

Next year, the Cantor Arts Center will host the event “Recursive Archive: Haunting and the Return of the Image in Latin America,” in conjunction with the “Beyond Here: The Judy and Sidney Zuber Collection of Latin American Photography” exhibition.

The event includes a lecture by Edinburgh College of Art lecturer Ileana L. Selejan, as well as a conversation with Stanford professor of art and art history Enrique Chagoya. 

Other upcoming events include the performance “Trans History in 99 Objects Variety Show Extravaganza” on Jan. 18, 2024, “Artist Talk | Sofía Gallisá Muriente” in conjunction with Muriente’s on-display artwork “Celaje (Cloudscape)” and student-only event “Art & Boba Talk with Christine Wong Yap.”

“I think that programs at the museum are a wonderful opportunity to get a broader perspective on what is on view in the museum,” Linden said. “It’s usually a fantastic opportunity to be able to hear directly from an artist who’s in a show, or from an expert on a topic that’s closely related to what’s on view.”