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Varujan Boghosian: Master Manipulator

January 12–April 25, 2018

Archaeologist, builder, magician

Varujan Boghosian (American, born 1926) holds a deep fascination with objects that evoke the past. As much a collector as an artist, he scours antique shops and flea markets for materials to use in his imaginative sculptures and collages. By cleverly combining and recontextualizing our castoffs—books, cards, toys, figurines, tools, glass, twine—he exploits their expressive power in sly, often poetic ways.

Boghosian draws inspiration from a wide range of sources, including literature, poetry, music, history, and art. He is particularly enchanted with Greek myths (the love story of Orpheus and Eurydice is a favorite) as well as the work of iconoclasts like writer James Joyce and artists Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp.

The objects presented in this exhibition were selected from a generous donation of thirty works by Boghosian from the collection of Joel and Sherry Mallin. They are supplemented by a small group of loans from the artist.

Main Building

About the Artist

The son of Armenian immigrants, Varujan Boghosian was born in New Britain, Connecticut, in 1926. He served in World War II and studied art at Yale University. In the early 1960s he showed his work at the legendary Stable Gallery, a showcase for emerging artists including Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. Boghosian later enjoyed a long relationship with Marcel Duchamp's American dealer Arne Ekstrom, who was known for his interest in connections between art and literature.

Boghosian's prestigious awards include a Fulbright grant to study in Italy (1953), artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome (1966–67 and 1975), and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1985). His work can be found in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among others. From 1968 to 1996, Boghosian was a professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he continues to live and work today.


Shelley Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings

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