Christopher Grimes Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Kota Ezawa, featuring an animated film and light boxes of the thirteen stolen works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Ezawa’s six-minute animation recreates the March 1990 surveillance videotape recorded at the museum the night before the thieves, dressed as Boston Police, stole $500 million worth of art. In August 2015 the FBI released the video recording in hopes that the public would help identify an unknown man. Apart from the potential crime evidence captured on tape, the hand-drawn animation looks at the material nature of the video, which, over the course of 25 years, has naturally degraded and accumulated a host of video artifacts that attest to the age of the recording.
The light boxes are reconstructed in the original size of the thirteen stolen works, and include paintings and sketches by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet and Degas. In addition, a light box depicting the now empty museum wall represents the quiet absence of these works. While Ezawa’s prior drawings relied exclusively on photographs as source material, this series draws upon painting, with the understanding that painters like Vermeer and Rembrandt were essentially the photographers of their time. Ezawa continues to distill these iconic images to their most essential form, and by doing so his work communicates the symbolic power these images have on the collective psyche and underscores a keen understanding of how images shape our experience and memory of events.
Kota Ezawa (b. Cologne, Germany, 1969) lives and works in Oakland, CA. Ezawa has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA (2015); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2013); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2013); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2009); Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, England (2007); and Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2006). He has participated in group exhibitions such as Screen Play: Life in an Animated World, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2015); Out of the Ordinary, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (2013); After Photoshop, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (2013); and HERE., Pilara Foundation, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA (2011). Ezawa’s work is in the collections of such institutions as Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; and Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, among others.