Winter 2017 exhibitions

Winter 2017 exhibitions

Mills College Art Museum

Left to right: Diana Al-Hadid, Blind Bust II, 2012. Bronze, painted stainless steel. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York. Photo: Jason Wyche. Elena Dorfman, Bathoul, 2013. Archival ink jet print on paper. Courtesy of Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane.
January 9, 2017
Winter 2017 exhibitions

January 18–March 13, 2017

Opening: Wednesday, January 18, 6–8pm

Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94613
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–4pm,
Wednesday 11am–7:30pm

T (510) 430 2164

Diana Al-Hadid
The sculptures and paintings of Syrian-born and Ohio-raised Diana Al-Hadid (1981–) appear to be trapped in an eternal moment of precariousness and decay. Inspired by historical forms from art and architecture, Al-Hadid’s highly material works are charged with drips, textures, patterns, and ornaments that recall Arabic calligraphy and Islamic textile patterns.

The exhibition is a focused look at Al-Hadid’s artistic practice, featuring recent large-scale sculptures, wall constructions, and drawings. The works have been described as metaphorical “bridges” between the past and the present, as well as cultural bridges between the Middle Eastern world of Al-Hadid’s early childhood and the Western world she now inhabits.

Works in the exhibition draw from Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain (1308-11) and Jacopo Pontormo’s The Deposition from the Cross (1528), as well as folkloric and mythological stories. Her use of industrial materials (rebar, plaster, polymer gypsum, polystyrene, and fiberglass) in addition to textiles, cardboard, paint, and pigments, yields works that are firmly grounded in contemporary idioms.

By re-imagining the monuments of great civilizations as fading images or apparitions, Al-Hadid not only challenges the viewer to question established notions of both Western and Eastern cultures, she also renders those symbols mysteriously inscrutable and full of new possibilities.

Al-Hadid received a BA in Art History and a BFA in sculpture from Kent State University and an MFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. She later attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Her work is included in the collections of The Whitney Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and The Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York, among others. Al-Hadid has had solo exhibitions at the Secession in Vienna, Austria, Columbus College of Art and Design, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Nasher Sculpture Center, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, La Conservera, Nevada Museum of Art, and the Hammer Museum.

This exhibition is organized by the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane with funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Passport admission: Visitors to Diana Al-Hadid at Mills College Art Museum who receive an MCAM stamp will enjoy discounted admissions (6 USD student-rate) to see Diana Al-Hadid: Liquid City on view at the San Jose Museum of Art from February 24 through September 24, 2017.


Elena Dorfman: Syria’s Lost Generation
Through portraiture and audio recordings, Elena Dorfman (1965–) offers a humanistic perspective to the Syrian conflict, a global crisis that has claimed more than 470,000 lives and driven 6.5 million people from their homes.

On assignment with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2013, Dorfman documented exiled Syrians in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Syria’s Lost Generation documents a small fraction of a population disproportionately affected by the war: teenagers. Dorfman was drawn most strongly to Syrian youth, explaining, “They seemed particularly shell-shocked and bereft… they spoke to me of powerful longing and frustration.” Suffering physical and psychological ills, facing uncertain futures, and fearful of retaliation, the individual appearing in these works presented themselves to Dorfman with the hope their stories would be told.

The ten-month project built on her previous work as a documentarian—in particular, The C-Word (1998), a photographic series of teenagers living with cancer—and her background as a portraiture photographer for publications such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, and Fortune.

Since graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1988, Elena Dorfman has specialized in documenting extreme circumstances and unusual subjects.  She has exhibited her work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Museum of Modern Art. Dorfman lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

This exhibition is organized by the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane with funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

This exhibition will be presented simultaneously with an exhibition of recent work by Syrian-American artist Diana Al-Hadid.

About Mills College Art Museum (MCAM)
Founded in 1925, Mills College Art Museum is a forum for exploring art and ideas and a laboratory for contemporary art practices. Through innovative exhibitions, programs, and collections, the museum engages and inspires the intellectual and creative life of the Mills community as well as the diverse audiences of the Bay Area and beyond.

Media contact
Jayna Swartzman-Brosky, T 510 430 3340, [email protected]


Diana Al-Hadid and Elena Dorfman at Mills College Art Museum

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January 9, 2017

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