Blind Spot: Stephanie Syjuco

Blind Spot: Stephanie Syjuco

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

March 2, 2023
Blind Spot: Stephanie Syjuco
February 4–July 23, 2023
Artist talk: March 30, 6–7:30pm
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University
547 East Circle Drive
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
United States
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The newest exhibition by Stephanie Syjuco (See-WHO-ko), an American artist of Filipino descent, opened at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (MSU Broad Art Museum) on February 4, 2023. Through photography, video, sculpture, and installation, Blind Spot: Stephanie Syjuco questions the ways that objects and collections are used by institutions—like museums and archives—to narrate history.

The term “blind spot” has several different meanings. On a physical level, it refers to areas absent from our field of vision. In the cognitive sciences, a bias blind spot considers how people may fail to recognize the impact of their own biases on others. Both definitions are important to Syjuco, whose artistic practice addresses issues of historical and contemporary erasure.

“As an artist and long-time educator, I’m thrilled to be exhibiting my work with MSU Broad Art Museum, given its context within a larger research university,” comments Syjuco. “Much of my work involves archival research and exploration into American and colonial archives, and the challenge for me is to then transform this visual research into something with creative impact. How do we tell new narratives and make new stories with what we are given? I’m looking forward to continuing this conversation with the MSU Broad Art Museum community.”

At the exhibition’s opening reception, the museum unveiled Syjuco’s newest work (and the museum’s newest acquisition) Blind Spot, a collection of photographs that Syjuco reproduced and digitally altered to erase certain features, creating blind spots. The original images are 19th- and early 20th-century ethnographic photographs by anthropologists and ethnographers. By erasing certain features using the Healing Brush tool in Photoshop, the artist aims to return agency to those who did not have a say in how they were represented in these photographs and who have been marginalized and exploited in history.

MSU Broad Art Museum Assistant Curator Rachel Winter says, “The way Syjuco’s work excavates, deconstructs, and reinterprets the ephemera of history is not only thought-provoking and visually captivating, but especially in the context of a research university, it reiterates the imperative of research in all forms to expand our knowledge and ways of thinking. As the museum celebrates its ten years, the questions Syjuco asks are also ones that prompt us to re-imagine how we can utilize our collection and engage our audiences with the stories it tells.”

Blind Spot: Stephanie Syjuco (on view February 4–July 23, 2023) is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Eli and Edythe Broad Endowed Exhibition Fund. The exhibition is co-curated by Assistant Curator Rachel Winter and Senior Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs Steven L. Bridges, with special thanks to Stephanie Syjuco, RYAN LEE Gallery (New York), and Catharine Clark Gallery (San Francisco).

Artist talk: Join Syjuco on March 30, 2023 as she discusses her recent work investigating archives and museum collections.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (MSU Broad Art Museum) connects people with art through experiences that inspire curiosity and inquiry. Presenting exhibitions and programs that engage diverse communities around issues of local relevance and global significance, the MSU Broad Art Museum advances the university values of quality, inclusion, and connectivity. Opened on November 10, 2012, the museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid and named in honor of Eli and Edythe Broad, longtime supporters of the university who provided the lead gift for its creation.

The Terra Foundation for American Art, established in 1978 and having offices in Chicago and Paris, supports organizations and individuals locally and globally with the aim of fostering intercultural dialogues and encouraging transformative practices that expand narratives of American art, through the foundation’s grant program, collection, and initiatives.

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Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University
March 2, 2023

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