The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery exhibits paintings, sculpture, photographs, and mixed media by professional artists (including faculty) and students of the Visual Arts Department. Lectures and discussions with the exhibiting artists are scheduled in conjunction with the opening of shows in the Gallery.
Located in the College's Campus Center, the Gallery’s three levels, connected by ramps, feature nearly three thousand square feet of exhibit space, plus track lighting that can be adjusted to highlight the displays. The center level opens onto an outdoor sculpture court that can be used to house outdoor displays. The entire facility is supported by two adjacent rooms for preparation and storage of exhibit materials.
- Opening Reception: Monday, March 25, 2019, 4:00 – 7:00 pm.
- Public Talks by Susan Meiselas and Mercedes Doretti, Remembrance of a Massacre El Mozote: Finding the Evidence: Monday, March 25, 1:00 – 2:30 pm. (NAB 1100)
The price of collecting information or news is at the cost of living like a human being. On the other hand, the price of getting involved is you might not be seen as a reliable witness. Sometimes I think that a photograph is instead of a relationship, and yet a photograph is a relationship. —Susan Meiselas, Voyages (1985)
The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury is pleased to announce the opening of Nicaragua 1978–2018: Susan Meiselas, an exhibition featuring works by U.S. documentary photographer Susan Meiselas, who arrived in Nicaragua in 1978 to cover the populist insurrection that overthrew the regime of Anastasio Somoza, the country’s longtime dictator. Meiselas’s photographs of the Nicaraguan revolution sparked by the assassination of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, the editor of the opposition newspaper La Prensa, have become iconic images that epitomize the courage and resolve of ordinary people. Meiselas’s work forms an extraordinary narrative that begins with a powerful and chilling evocation of the Somoza regime, and then follows the course of the resistance that led to the insurrection culminating in the triumph of the Sandinista revolution of 1979. Meiselas’s book, Nicaragua June 1978– July 1979, originally published in 1981, became a contemporary classic that points to the potential of concerned photojournalism.
Over the intervening four decades, Meiselas has returned to Nicaragua to visit the sites of her seminal photographs, using her book as a guide to find her subjects. Their testimony became the film Pictures from a Revolution (1991) which gave them a greater presence, in contrast to how they were portrayed in a still image. In 2004, Meiselas collaborated with local communities to place mural-size images of the photographs she took in 1978 and 1979 on public walls and in the open spaces where the photographs were made. This project, Reframing History (2004), provided a framework to gather reflections from the community and revisit how these photographs resonate with their collective memory. In the film Voyages (1985), Meiselas’s commentary, conveyed through letters and conversations that span the revolutionary period, offers her reflections on her personal relationship to the history she witnessed.
Molotov Man: The Life of an Image (1979–2009) investigates the process of publication and re-appropriation of Meiselas’s iconic image of Sandinista Pablo “Bareta” Arauz throwing a Molotov cocktail. Archival materials—magazine pages, flyers, and even a matchbox, as well as the artist’s interview of Arauz in 1990—contribute to this multimedia installation that reveals and challenges viewers to consider the impact of dissemination, which de-contextualizes images and limits the control of public meaning.
Meiselas most recently created a slideshow from images made and curated by local Nicaraguan photographers who witnessed the 2018 protests against the oppressive regime of President Daniel Ortega—ironically, a leader of the 1979 Sandinista revolution. Meiselas has complemented these riveting images with text, data, and a musical soundtrack, written at the time of the resistance.
This exhibition is Meiselas’s second appearance at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery. In 1986, she participated in a group exhibition with three other U.S. artists reporting on or representing Nicaragua: Roland Legiardi Laura, Kristin Reed, and Christy Rupp. NICARAGUA? ran from November 13 through December 14, 1986.
A public reception for Nicaragua 1978–2018: Susan Meiselas will be held on Monday, March 25, 2019, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Remembrance of a Massacre El Mozote: Finding the Evidence, talks by Susan Meiselas and Mercedes Doretti, a forensic anthropologist and a co-founder and fulltime member of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, EAAF, will be presented on Monday, March 25, 1:00 to 2:30 pm, at the New Academic Building (NAB) 1100. The two-day program Crisis in Central America Yesterday and Today, organized by Thomas DelGiudice and Kathleen O’Connor-Bater, will take place on Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26. For the complete schedule of programs, please see the College website and exhibition flyers.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Hispanic Latino Cultural Center and Department of Politics, Economics, and Law of SUNY Old Westbury. The organizers of the exhibition thank the following individuals for making this exhibition possible: Susan Meiselas; Alex Nelson and Jessica Bal, assistants at Susan Meiselas Studio; photographer Adam DelGiudice; Eric Hagan, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts; Kathleen O’Connor-Bater, Professor of Modern Languages, and Wendy Genco, secretary in the Modern Language Department.
Biography of Susan Meiselas:
Susan Meiselas received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and her M.A. in visual education from Harvard University. Her first major photographic essay focused on the lives of women engaged in striptease shows at New England country fairs. Meiselas photographed the carnivals during three consecutive summers while teaching photography in the New York City public schools. Carnival Strippers was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1976. A selection of images was installed at the Whitney Museum of Art in June 2000. The original book was revised and reprinted by the Whitney Museum and Steidl Verlag in 2003.
Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976, and has worked as a freelance photographer since then. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America, images of which have been published throughout the world. In 1981, Pantheon published her second monograph, Nicaragua: June 1978–July 1979, which was reprinted by Aperture, fall 2008.
Meiselas served as an editor and contributor to the book El Salvador: The Work of Thirty Photographers (Writers & Readers, 1983). She edited Chile from Within (W.W. Norton, 1991), which features work by photographers living under the Pinochet regime. She has co-directed two films: Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family (1986) and Pictures from a Revolution (1991), with Richard P. Rogers and Alfred Guzzetti. In 1997, she completed a six-year project curating a 100-year photographic history of Kurdistan, and integrated her own work into the book Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History (Random House, 1997; reprinted by the University of Chicago Press, 2008). Meiselas has since created a website, www.akaKURDISTAN.com, to serve as an online archive of collective memory.
Meiselas’s 2001 monograph, Pandora’s Box (Magnum Editions/Trebruk), explores an S & M club in New York City; it has been exhibited at home and abroad. In 2003, Encounters with the Dani was featured as an installation in the International Center of Photography’s Triennial Strangers and co-published by ICP/Steidl Verlag. The book explores the sixty-year history of outsiders’ discovery and interactions with the Dani, an indigenous people of the highlands of Papua, Indonesia.
Meiselas has had one-woman exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Her work is included in American and international collections. Honorary awards of recognition include: the Robert Capa Gold Medal for “outstanding courage and reporting” by the Overseas Press Club for her work in Nicaragua (1979); the Leica Award for Excellence (1982); the Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art (1985); the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University for her coverage of Latin America (1994); the Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize (1994) and the Cornell Capa Infinity Award (2005). In 1992, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, and most recently, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015). In 2018, Mediations, a survey exhibition of her work from the 1970s to the present, was exhibited at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona, Jeu de Paume in Paris, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
About Amelie A. Wallace Gallery:
The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery exhibits contemporary art by emerging and mid-career artists as well as works by the faculty and students of the Visual Arts Department. Lectures by and discussions with exhibiting artists are presented in conjunction with exhibition openings. The Gallery was formally dedicated to Amelie A. Wallace of Garden City on May 22, 1979. The late Mrs. Wallace, a member of the Old Westbury College Council from 1974 to 1980, was honored for her unflagging support of the College and her personal commitment to the arts at Old Westbury.
Public Reception: Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Artist Talks by Manal Abu-Shaheen and Aisha Mershani, moderated by Rania Lee Khalil: Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
- Mondays and Fridays: 12 pm – 5 pm
- Tuesdays through Thursdays: 12 pm – 7 pm
The Gallery was formally dedicated to Amelie A. Wallace of Garden City on May 22, 1979. The late Mrs. Wallace, a member of the Old Westbury College Council from 1974 to 1980, was honored for her unflagging interest in the College and the State University as well as support of the arts at Old Westbury.
Email: yih [at] oldwestbury.edu