Art Watch: “Photo-Poetics: An Anthology” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

November 20, 2015–March 23, 2016

This group exhibition, Photo-Poetics: An Anthology,features more than 70 works by ten artists: Claudia Angelmaier, Erica Baum, Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Leslie Hewitt, Elad Lassry, Lisa Oppenheim, Erin Shirreff, Kathrin Sonntag, and Sara VanDerBeek.

Lisa Oppenheim The Sun is Always Setting Somewhere Else, 2006 Slide projection of 15 35 mm slides, continuous loop, dimensions variable Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2009 2009.60

Lisa Oppenheim, The Sun is Always Setting Somewhere Else, 2006.  Slide projection of 15 35 mm slides, continuous loop, dimensions variable. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2009. 2009.60

Drawing on the legacies of Conceptualism, these artists pursue a largely studio-based approach to still-life photography that centers on the representation of objects, often printed matter such as books, magazines, and record covers. The result is an image imbued with poetic and evocative personal significance—a sort of displaced self-portraiture—that resonates with larger cultural and historical meanings. Driven by a profound engagement with the medium of photography, these artists investigate the nature, traditions, and magic of photography at a moment characterized by rapid digital transformation. They attempt to rematerialize the photograph through meticulous printing, using film and other disappearing photo technologies, and creating artist’s books, installations, and photo-sculptures.

Leslie Hewitt Riffs on Real Time (3 of 10), 2006–09 Chromogenic print, 76.2 x 61 cm Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2010 2010.55

Leslie Hewitt, Riffs on Real Time (3 of 10), 2006–09. Chromogenic print, 76.2 x 61 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2010. 2010.55

While they are invested in exploring the processes, supports, and techniques of photography, they are also deeply interested in how photographic images circulate. Theirs is a sort of “photo poetics,” an art that self-consciously investigates the laws of photography and the nature of photographic representation, reproduction, and the photographic object.

Sara VanDerBeek From the Means of Reproduction, 2007 Chromogenic print, 101.6 x 76.2 cm Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.138 © Sara VanDerBeek

Sara VanDerBeek, From the Means of Reproduction, 2007. Chromogenic print, 101.6 x 76.2 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.138 © Sara VanDerBeek

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The Whitney Museum of American Art to Showcase Transformative Gift: Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner

November 20, 2015 – March 6, 2016

Celebrating an extraordinary and transformative gift of more than 850 works collectively given to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, both institutions will present consecutive exhibitions featuring a selection of works from the gift. The Whitney’s presentation of Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner opens on November 20 in the Museum’s new downtown home and runs through March 6, 2016. The Pompidou’s exhibition follows the New York presentation, opening in Paris on June 9, 2016. The exhibition is organized by Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Christine Macel, chief curator and head of the department of contemporary and prospective creation, Centre Pompidou, with Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art. An illustrated catalogue documenting the collection will accompany the exhibitions.

Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling, 2000. Inkjet print: sheet, 70 1/2 × 49 13/16 (179.1 × 126.5); image, 60 11/16 × 47 1/16 (154.1 × 119.5). Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.10

Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling, 2000. Inkjet print: sheet, 70 1/2 × 49 13/16 (179.1 × 126.5); image, 60 11/16 × 47 1/16 (154.1 × 119.5). Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.10

Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, noted, “We are delighted to present this exhibition in honor of the magnanimous gift of art we received from Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner—one of the largest in the Whitney’s history and a tremendous statement of support for the Museum and its new building. Thea and Ethan are among the most astute collectors of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century art and their gift adds enormous strength to the Whitney’s collection. We are deeply grateful to them and are pleased to be collaborating with our friends at the Pompidou.”

This exhibition celebrates this remarkable gift as well as the perspicacious collecting of Westreich Wagner and Wagner by exploring several of the ideas and themes that recur in the collection across generations, mediums, and nationalities: the rise of mass media and the darker side of advertising; the adoption of street style and the punk aesthetic; the decorative arts and their ability to communicate often political messages; reflections on how technology has radically altered commerce, communication, and industry; and the artist as celebrity, among others.

Charline von Heyl, Boogey, 2004. Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on canvas, 82 1/16 × 78 1/8 (208.4 × 198.4) Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2011.472

Charline von Heyl, Boogey, 2004. Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on canvas, 82 1/16 × 78 1/8 (208.4 × 198.4)
Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2011.472

Westreich Wagner and Wagner began collecting art in the 1980s and continue to collect today. They have consistently focused their attention on emerging artists, acquiring works soon after they were made, often straight out of the artists’ studios. Many of these artists were relatively unknown at the time, but have since become some of the most heralded figures of their generation—notably Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Christopher Wool. The couple has also pursued a specific interest in photography, building deep holdings of the work of landmark figures such as Lee Friedlander and Robert Adams while also acquiring photographs by a diverse range of artists, including Liz Deschenes, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Annette Kelm, and Josephine Pryde. Continuously motivated by the learning challenges posed by new expressions and ideas, the two have examined the world around them through the eyes of the artists whose work they follow and acquire; their collection is a unique, personal reflection on the “contemporary moment” as it has evolved over the last several decades.

Liz Deschenes, Green Screen #7, 2001. Chromogenic print: sheet, 49 9/16 × 66 (125.9 × 167.6) Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.12

Liz Deschenes, Green Screen #7, 2001. Chromogenic print: sheet, 49 9/16 × 66 (125.9 × 167.6)
Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.12

The gift to the Whitney encompasses nearly five hundred and fifty works, representing a cross section of mediums, by more than seventy-five artists and collectives. In some cases works are by artists who will enter the collection for the first time and in others they add depth to our holdings of artists we have championed. The Pompidou is receiving more than three hundred works by some forty European artists. While the collection is divided between the two institutions, with works by American artists going to the Whitney and by non-American artists going to the Pompidou, the exhibitions draw from both gifts aiming to reveal the international dialogue intrinsic to contemporary art. Continue reading

Opening Soon: Guggenheim Examines New Developments in Contemporary Photography in Photo-Poetics: An Anthology

Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York

Location: Tower Levels 2, 4, and 5

Dates: November 20, 2015–March 23, 2016

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, an exhibition documenting recent developments in contemporary photography and consisting of photographs, videos, and slide installations by ten international artists. With more than 70 works by Claudia Angelmaier, Erica Baum, Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Leslie Hewitt, Elad Lassry, Lisa Oppenheim, Erin Shirreff, Kathrin Sonntag, and Sara VanDerBeek, the exhibition runs from November 20, 2015–March 23, 2016, and presents a focused study into the nature, traditions, and magic of photography in the context of the rapid digital transformation of the medium.

Lisa Oppenheim, The Sun is Always Setting Somewhere Else, 2006 Slide projection of 15 35 mm slides, continuous loop, dimensions variable Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2009 2009.60

Lisa Oppenheim, The Sun is Always Setting Somewhere Else, 2006, Slide projection of 15 35 mm slides, continuous loop, dimensions variable, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2009. 2009.60

Moyra Davey, Les Goddesses, 2011, HD color video, with sound, 61 min., Courtesy the artist and Murray Guy, New York. © Moyra Davey

Moyra Davey, Les Goddesses, 2011, HD color video, with sound, 61 min., Courtesy the artist and Murray Guy, New York. © Moyra Davey

Organized by Jennifer Blessing, Senior Curator, Photography, with Susan Thompson, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Photo-Poetics: An Anthology offers an opportunity to define the concerns of a new generation of photographic artists and contextualize their work within the history of art and visual culture. These artists mainly pursue a studio-based approach to still-life photography that centers on the representation of objects, often printed matter such as books, magazines, and record covers. The result is often an image imbued with poetic and evocative personal significance that resonates with larger cultural and historical meanings.

Anne Collier, Crying, 2005, Chromogenic print, 99.1 x 134 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe 2005.47 © Anne Collier

Anne Collier, Crying, 2005, Chromogenic print, 99.1 x 134 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe 2005.47 © Anne Collier

Erin Shirreff, UN 2010, 2010, HD color video, silent 17 min., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Erica Gervais, 2010.29 © 2010 Erin Shirreff

Erin Shirreff, UN 2010, 2010, HD color video, silent 17 min., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Erica Gervais, 2010.29 © 2010 Erin Shirreff

The artists in the exhibition attempt to rematerialize the photograph through meticulous printing, using film and other disappearing photo technologies. Drawing on the legacies of Conceptualism and invested in exploring the processes and techniques of photography, they are also deeply interested in how photographic images circulate. Theirs is a sort of “photo poetics,” an art that self-consciously investigates the laws of photography and the nature of photographic representation, reproduction, and the photographic object. The works in the exhibition, rich with detail, reward close and prolonged regard; they ask for a mode of looking that is closer to reading than the cursory scanning fostered by the clicking and swiping functionalities of smartphones and social media. Both the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are conceived as anthologies, as independent vehicles to introduce each artist’s important and unique practice.

Erica Baum, Jaws, 2008 (from the series Naked Eye), Inkjet print, 47 x 41.6 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe, 2011 2011.48 © Erica Baum

Erica Baum, Jaws, 2008 (from the series Naked Eye), Inkjet print, 47 x 41.6 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe, 2011
2011.48 © Erica Baum

Photo-Poetics: An Anthology is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an introduction, afterword, and ten monographic essays by Jennifer Blessing that provide focused, contemplative readings of each artist’s work. The catalogue’s design, in which each artist’s practice is presented individually, reflects the exhibition’s structure as a series of solo presentations. The catalogue will be available for $50 at the Guggenheim Store and online at guggenheimstore.org.

Leslie Hewitt, Riffs on Real Time (3 of 10), 2006–09, Chromogenic print, 76.2 x 61 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2010. 2010.55

Leslie Hewitt, Riffs on Real Time (3 of 10), 2006–09, Chromogenic print, 76.2 x 61 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2010. 2010.55

Elad Lassry, Untitled (Woman, Blond), 2013, Chromogenic print in walnut frame with four-ply silk, 36.8 x 29.2 x 3.8 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2013.72 © Elad Lassry

Elad Lassry, Untitled (Woman, Blond), 2013, Chromogenic print in walnut frame with four-ply silk, 36.8 x 29.2 x 3.8 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2013.72 © Elad Lassry

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