The artwork of Janet Braun-Reinitz ’73 was featured in conjunction with the 55th annual Venice Biennale Art Exhibition. The art show invites some of the best artists from around the world to exhibit their most recent work. The exhibition was held at the Spazio Bocciofila Gallery in Venice, Italy, in June.
A veteran muralist, painter and activist, Braun-Reinitz teamed up with renowned artist Charlotta Janssen to organize an exhibition that coincided with this year’s show. They combined their two individual exhibits to represent the “Ignited State of Brooklyn,” by highlighting Brooklyn, N.Y., as “the epicenter of an electrified, multicultural, urban environment.”
Braun-Reinitz’s individual exhibit, “Danger Lurks in Forgetting,” featured nine large-scale outdoor canvas banners. They depicted scenes of flight and destruction from past natural and man-made disasters such as Katrina and Bhopal, and contemporary wartime tragedies including fleeing Darfur and Afghanistan.
She began mural-making in 1984 when she joined Artists for a New Nicaragua. She has since painted more than 50 murals in five countries and worked on a number of major mural projects in and around New York City. She hopes to create “discussion and change with her work,” focusing her murals on political issues including feminism, abortion rights, violence against women, AIDS, and the accomplishments of people protesting and initiating change in their local communities. Her collections are housed in many prestigious institutions, including The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art. She also co-authored the book, “On The Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City,” which features 150 color photos of murals around New York City.
Braun-Reinitz graduated from William Smith with a bachelor’s degree in studio art and women’s studies. She was the first women’s studies major to graduate from HWS, pioneering the program and leaving a lasting legacy at the Colleges.
“She was formative of the [women’s studies] program,” says Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer.
In addition to spearheading the all-female artist exhibit “Eye of the Woman,” which brought 22 leading artists to the HWS campus in 1974, Braun-Reinitz also co-founded the upstate chapter of “Tasteful Ladies for Choice” and the organization “Tasteful Ladies for Peace,” to lead peaceful protests promoting reproductive choice and discouraging the use of nuclear weapons, respectively. Her work as a freedom-rider was also influential in making headway for civil rights issues, in addition to her involvement with a number of other organizations focused on political activism and social change.
Braun-Reinitz married the late Hobart Professor of History and fellow freedom-rider, Richard Reinitz.