Frist Art Museum Presents “Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture”

The Frist Art Museum presents Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture, an exhibition that examines the complex and dynamic interactions among spectators, images, buildings, and time through the lens of architectural photography in America and Europe from the 1930s to the present. On view in the museum’s Upper-Level Galleries from July 20 through October 28, 2018, Image Building features 57 photographs that explore the social, psychological, and conceptual implications of architecture through the subjective interpretation of those who portrayed it in both film and digital media.

Organized by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, PhD and the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Image Building brings together works by 21 artists and commercial photographers, ranging from classic modern masters such as Berenice Abbott, Samuel H. Gottscho, and Julius Shulman to a later generation known for its more vernacular images, with Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Luigi Ghirri, and Stephen Shore among its members. The exhibition also features contemporary works by Iwan Baan, Hélène Binet, James Casebere, Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others.Frist-Art-Museum

Buildings and the way they are photographed are visible projections of a society’s self-image, conveying the social, economic, and aesthetic concerns of an era,” says Frist Art Museum Chief Curator Mark Scala. “Articulating meaning and function through the representation of an existing or possible structure is a vital part of architectural practice—a way to show both clients and the public how buildings fulfill their function and interact with their environments.

Organized thematically into Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, the exhibition examines the relationship between contemporary and historical approaches to photographing buildings in urban, suburban, and rural environments, looking at influences, similarities, and differences. By juxtaposing these photographs, Image Building creates a dialogue between the past and present, revealing the ways photography shapes and frames the perception of architecture, and how that perception is transformed over time.

In the first section, Cityscapes, the essence of New York City is explored by Berenice Abbott and Iwan Baan in two photographs separated by nearly 80 years. Shot from the vantage point of the Empire State Building, Abbott’s The Night View (1934) is a modernist depiction of a thriving metropolis packed with skyscrapers and shimmering lights. Made during the Great Depression, the photograph shows no hint of the poverty or struggles that many were experiencing at ground level. Contrasting with this message of power and confidence, Iwan Baan’s The City and the Storm (2012) portrays a vulnerable New York after electrical outages and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy left vast swaths of darkness from lower Manhattan to Midtown.

From the mid-century until now, domestic spaces have presented an irresistible subject to many photographers, who create voyeuristic windows into everyday life, showing elegant modern homes as the beautiful dream of consumerist society, or rundown towns and apartment buildings as loci for alienation and melancholia. The second section, Domestic Spaces, includes photographs of buildings meant for the practical use of individuals and families. People are rarely included in the shots, however. In Julius Schulman’s photographs of show-homes of the post–World War II era, for example, this lack of human presence suggests modern architecture is very much like formalist sculpture—“meant to be looked at in terms of angles, light, planes, but not to be touched, entered, or used,” says Scala. For Shore and others, this human absence tells of a postwar alienation experienced by many in the lower and middle classes who did not benefit from the economic recovery of the 1950s and beyond.

The artists featured in the final section, Public Places, create digital photographs to interpret buildings and sites meant for public use. Monumental works by Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, and Thomas Struth show that public places can signify communal aspirations and cultural identity. This extends to architecture that does not actually exist, as seen in the works of James Casebere and Thomas Demand, who photograph models of building types to focus more fully on their symbolic meaning, which is as often unsettling as it is positive.

As with any exhibition that reflects changes wrought through time, Image Building has particular relevance to contemporary culture. Scala hopes that the exhibition will inspire visitors to the Frist Art Museum to consider Nashville’s own evolving cityscape in terms of its symbolic resonance, for us and future generations.

Photographers Represented in the Exhibition: Berenice Abbott (American, 1898–1991), Robert Adams (American, born 1937), Iwan Baan (Dutch, born 1975), Lewis Baltz (American, 1945–2014), Bernd Becher (German 1931–2007), Hilla Becher (German, 1934–2015), Hélène Binet (Swiss-French, born 1959), James Casebere (American, born 1953), Thomas Demand (German, born 1964), Luigi Ghirri (Italian, 1943–1992), Samuel H. Gottscho (American, 1875–1971), Andreas Gursky (German, born 1955), Candida Höfer (German, born 1944), Balthazar Korab (Hungarian, 1926–2013), Thomas Ruff (German, born 1958), Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937), Stephen Shore (American, born 1947), Julius Shulman (American, 1910–2009), Ezra Stoller (American, 1915–2004), Thomas Struth (German, born 1954), and Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, born 1948).

Dr. Therese Lichtenstein organized Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris for the Frist and is the author of Twilight Visions: Surrealism and Paris (2009). She is the curator and author of Behind Closed Doors: The Art of Hans Bellmer (awarded Best Photography Exhibition of 2001 by the International Association of Art Critics) and Andromeda Hotel: The Art of Joseph Cornell (2006). Dr. Lichtenstein, who received her Ph.D. in art history from The Graduate Center, CUNY, has written articles and reviews for Art in America, Artforum, and Arts Magazine. She taught at Rice University, Mt. Holyoke College, New York University, and the International Center of Photography; and currently teaches art history at the Ross School in East Hampton, New York. Continue reading

“Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now” at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Over seven decades of style will be displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now, a major exhibition (in the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor, October 16, 2018March 3, 2019) highlighting creativity and glamour. The haute couture and ready-to-wear garments and accessories on view range in date from 1947 – the year of the introduction of Christian Dior’s revolutionary “New Look” – to recent ensembles by audacious designer Bernhard Willhelm. Featuring some of the most significant and visually compelling works from the Museum’s renowned collection of costumes and textiles, Fabulous Fashion presents many new acquisitions and other outstanding works, exhibited rarely if ever before.

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Woman’s Evening Dress and Flower Pin, Fall 2006, designed by Oscar de la Renta. Worn by Mrs. Martin Field. Light brown nylon tulle and silk gauze, burgundy synthetic velvet. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martin Field. Light brown tulle and gauze strapless dress with train, burgundy velvet artificial flower brooch.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Few museums have such extraordinary range and depth in their collection of costumes and textiles as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As we continue to work on our Facilities Master Plan, which will result in much more gallery space to display the richness of our holdings in this field, Fabulous Fashion will serve as a reminder of the strength of our collection and all that we have to offer to those who value the extraordinary history of costumes and textiles as much as we do.

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Woman’s Suit (Jacket, Skirt, Belt, and Camisole) and Bag, Fall/Winter 1998, designed by John Galliano for Christian Dior. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martin Field.

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Woman’s Dress: Bodice and Skirt, Spring 1948, designed by Christian Dior. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Dora Donner Ide in memory of John Jay Ide.

Since its founding, as a result of Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Costume and Textile Collection has become one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Numbering some 30,000 objects, the collection is remarkable in depth and breadth, encompassing art of great quality from diverse eras and around the globe. Textiles holdings range from Middle Eastern and Asian archeological examples to American quilts and samplers to fiber art, while the extensive collection of garments and accessories includes particular strengths in late-nineteenth-century French couture and the iconic designs of famed twentieth-century designer Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as a growing collection of contemporary menswear.

The 1956 wedding dress worn by Princess Grace of Monaco, the former Grace Kelly of Philadelphia, is another highlight (currently not on view). Since costume and textile objects can only be displayed for short periods of time due to light sensitivity and other conservation concerns, the Museum showcases diverse aspects of its encyclopedic collection through special exhibitions and rotating displays.

Fabulous Fashion includes such iconic works as Adrian’s 1947 velvet “winged victory” gown, an understated black and white 1972 Chanel suit, and Geoffrey Beene’s 1994 silver lamé “Mercury” dress. Radical design is exemplified by Paco Rabanne’s dress made of plastic discs linked by metal rings (from his 1966 collection entitled “Twelve Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials”) and a punk-inspired ensemble by Zandra Rhodes from her 1977-78 “Conceptual Chic” collection.

Focusing on fashion as an art form, the exhibition is arranged thematically to explore designers’ creative use of color and pattern, shape and volume, draping, metallics, bridal traditions and innovations, and exquisite embellishments. Works will be grouped together to offer striking visual comparisons and demonstrate the relentlessly creative spirit of fashion.

A pair of ensembles from fifty years apart opens the exhibition, each embodying fashion-forward dressing for its time. Dior’s two-piece pale pink satin day dress from1948, with a nipped-in waist and full skirt that epitomizes the ultra-feminine “New Look,” contrasts with a flirtatious hot pink fur-collared wool suit designed in 1998 by John Galliano for the House of Dior. Continue reading

“The Face In The Moon: Drawings And Prints By Louise Nevelson” Explores The Late Artist’s Works On Paper

The Face in the Moon: Drawings and Prints by Louise Nevelson opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art on July 20, 2018. Drawn entirely from The Whitney’s extensive holdings of her work, this exhibition presents a career-spanning selection of works on paper by Louise Nevelson (1899–1988).

The Face in the Moon: Drawings and Prints by Louise Nevelson will be on view in the Susan and John Hess Family Gallery on the Museum’s third floor and is organized by Clémence White, curatorial assistant.

Drawings and Prints by Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson (1899-1988), The Face in the Moon, 1953-55. Etching: sheet, 20 × 26 1/16 in. (50.8 × 66.2 cm); plate, 17 7/8 × 21 5/8 in. (45.4 × 54.9 cm). Edition 1/20. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of the artist 69.247. © 2018 Estate of Louise Nevelson/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Nevelson emphasized her reliance on the processes of drawing and collage to create the monochromatic wooden sculptures for which she is best known. This exhibition will be an opportunity to focus closely on her use of these processes in her works on paper, many of which, like her sculptures, involved building compositions out of unconventional or recycled materials.

The human figure is at the center of Nevelson’s early line drawings, often depicted from multiple perspectives. Over time, her figures became increasingly schematic as she deepened her interest in modern dance and the constraints of the body.

The prints on view in this exhibition include works from her two most significant bodies of print works, those made in the mid-1950s at Atelier 17 in New York City and those made in the mid-1960s at Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. In her prints, she layered scraps of fabric to create deeply textured compositions inhabited by mystical figures and architectural forms. Similarly, her collages reconfigure the disparate materials from which they are composed, including scraps of paper and foil, into unexpected compositions.

Clémence White, curatorial assistant, remarked, “Nevelson’s works on paper help to elucidate the processes of this artist whose transformation of her materials challenges us to notice the expressive potential of common or overlooked things, and through this, to see our environments differently.”