Elaine Reichek


Initially Elaine Reichek's residency at the Gardner in 2001 was spent doing research for her "Adam and Eve" cycle, which included sixteen embroideries recounting the Creation myth from Genesis to the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. She researched the collection, culled images to add to her resources and ultimately used an illustration from Genesis 1:1-3 from "The Beginning of Creation," an illustrated Bible for a new work entitled Sampler (Perhaps No Life).

The artist returned in 2002 and 2003 and produced madamimadam, a virtual exhibition of her work installed throughout the galleries of the Museum. While the museum was closed to the public, Reichek briefly placed her work into the permanent collection and documented it on film. She mixed film, audio, and text into an interactive exhibition that was launched on the Museum's website and published electronically. She also hosted a sewing circle and spoke about her work in an Eye of the Beholder lecture. She returned in 2010 for a Room Views conversation about the Dutch Room on the 20th anniversary of the Museum's theft with Curator of Contemporary Art Pieranna Cavalchini and Curator of the Collection Alan Chong.

In June, 2017, Reichek will be the tenth Artist-in-Residence to create a temporary site-specific work for the façade of the Museum. Titled, Ever Yours, Henry James, it illustrates, in James’ handwriting, the many ways he closed his letters to Isabella Stewart Gardner—from the formal (“With many good wishes,” “Very truly yours”) to the very affectionate (“always constantly.”) By focusing on these leave takings, Reichek hopes to indicate the depth and genuine feeling in Gardner’s and James’ long friendship.

Elaine Reichek (b. 1943 USA) is a conceptual artist who uses multiple media to examine beliefs and preconceptions about aesthetics and culture. She investigates images, texts, and objects, seeking stories she can retell in her work. Reichek has exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art and The Jewish Museum; the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus, Ohio; the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Belgium; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland; and the Tel Aviv Art Museum, Israel. Reichek received her BFA from Yale University and her BA from Brooklyn College. She lives and works in New York.

Elaine Reichek: Ever Yours, Henry James, 2017. Video by Dillon Buss.