Positive Fragmentation: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation
Judy Chicago, Through the Flower 3, 1972, lithograph, edition AP 1/1. Photo: © 2023 Judy Chicago / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Positive Fragmentation: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA - To March 10

by Christine Clark

It’s not every day we get a chance to look at privately owned works of art, especially art made by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago and Kara Walker. Positive Fragmentation is a fortunate exception to the rule that privately owned art tends to disappear from public view forever, thanks to Jordan Schnitzer, who purchased his first piece of contemporary art when he was just 14 years old and has since accrued one of the largest collections in the USA, comprising 20,000 prints alone, with 1,500 artists represented.

Positive Fragmentation features more than 100 artworks by 20 female and nonbinary artists from diverse communities. Notable creators include Nicola López, whose drawings and prints explore the collision between human civilization and the cycles of nature; Swoon, a classically trained printmaker, street artist, filmmaker and activist with a focus on opioid and alcohol addiction; and Barbara Takenaga, a painter with early experience as a printmaker, who creates abstract, obsessively patterned imagery suggestive of outer space or human cells.

Originally curated by Virginia Treanor and Kathryn Wat of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, this exhibition takes its name from feminist scholar Lucy Lippard’s 1978 essay “Making Something from Nothing,” which discusses the bias against women’s art because of social class and gender as well as the creative materials and “collage aesthetic” of marginalized artists. “Positive fragmentation,” in Lippard’s lexicon, means, in the broadest sense, that women artists were – and still are – able to reimagine what it means to make art and are able to communicate unique and vital new perspectives.

bellevuearts.org

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