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.
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.
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.
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.