The inaugural exhibition of the Cantor Art Gallery, Auguste Rodin, 1840 – 1917, opened in October 1983 and consisted of 31 of the artist’s bronze sculptures. Five of the exhibited sculptures were presented to Holy Cross as gifts from the Cantor Foundation, and are now part of the permanent collection.
Since then, the Cantor Art Gallery has mounted over 100 exhibitions including, Flying Tigers: Paintings and Sculpture in New York 1939-1946 (1985); We’ll Never Turn Back: An Exhibition of Civil Rights Movement Photography (1986); Affirmative Re-Actions: Adrian Piper, Lorna Simpson & Carrie Mae Weems (1991); Sacred Spaces: Building and Remembering Sites of Worship in the Nineteenth Century (2002); Lewis DeSoto, Recollection (Toward Oblivion) (2002); Big Idea: The Maquettes of Robert Arneson (2003); Keris/Cloth: Sacred Metal and Textile Arts of Indonesia (2003); Terri Priest, Interactions: Paintings ands Works on Paper (2005); Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia's Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity (2007); Zoologia Fantastica (2008); Changing Identity: Recent Works by Women Artists from Vietnam (2008); and Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam (2010); Create (2012); Global Encounters in Early America (2014); Katrina Then and Now: Artists as Witness (2015); Woven Power: Ritual Textiles of Sarawak and West Kalimantan (2016); S.A.P.E. Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes: Photogrpahs by Hector Mediavilla (2017); and The Newar Craftsmen of Kathmandu Valley: Objects of Devotion from Nepal (2018); Rodin: Truth, Form, Life / Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections (2019).
Distinguished Holy Cross faculty members often serve as guest curators for exhibitions, while also contributing their expertise through essays, gallery lectures and didactic explanatory materials. Some of the faculty-curated projects have included: Keris/Cloth: Sacred Metal and Textile Arts of Indonesia (2003) and Gold Cloths of Sumatra: Indonesia's Songkets from Ceremony to Commodity (2007), by Susan Rodgers, department of sociology and anthropology; Envisioning Jacob’s Ladder: Religion, Representation, and Allusion in American Visual Culture, 1750 – 2000 (2004), by David Hummon, department of sociology and anthropology; Catholic Collecting, Catholic Reflection 1538 – 1850 (2006) and Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, (2010) by Virginia Chieffo Raguin, department of visual arts, art history; The Spiritual Landscapes of Adrienne Farb (2006) by Joanna E. Ziegler, department of visual art, art history; and Zoologia Fantastica (2008) by Cristi Rinklin, department of visual art, studio art.
In addition, the Cantor Art Gallery works in conjunction with the College’s visual arts department each year to mount an exhibition of the senior seminar thesis portfolios of students graduating as art majors. Faculty exhibitions are also presented every three years.
On occasion, the gallery’s program also includes exhibitions mounted during the summer months. In 2003, the gallery presented, Rodin’s Obsession: The Gates of Hell, Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection. Other summer exhibitions have presented works by alumni artists, including 25/50 Reunion Times 2: Works by James Stroud ’85 and James Paradise ’55 (2005); and Visual Studies: Artists from the Class of ’56: Tom Heinsohn, Hugh Kelly, and Dick O’Brien (2006); Treasures of the Cantor (2007); Our Fragile Home, a collaboration between artist Pat Musick and her husband Jerry Carr, a former NASA astronaut (2014); and Collaboration: James Storud and Center Street Studio (2015).