The absent exhibition—a thesis exhibition for the Chicago Jewish Artists Fellowship at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership—was originally planned to happen there in June 2019. Two months prior to the exhibition’s opening, the host institution decided against exhibiting one of the participating artist’s works, stating the work featured a “one-sided” view of Gaza after the 2014 Israeli aerial raids. The decision led to the fellows-artists unanimously withdrawing from the exhibition and to the subsequent resignation of Lichtzier, who at the time was the Director of the Fellowship. Prior to the thesis exhibition’s cancellation, the artists intended to present selected items from the institution’s collection upon which they conducted a year-long artistic investigation while developing their own work.
Built on the mostly hidden dynamics between institutions that care for cultural archives, and the artists and scholars who study them, Regarding the Missing Objects endeavors in excavating objects and histories that were denied representation. The exhibition invites us to ask what are the material and immaterial outcomes of institutional censorship? What historical perspectives are being suppressed in museum collections and why? In turn, the artworks here suggest how collections and archives that resist institutional silencing may take shape in the future.