PaceWildenstein will present Constructing Realities: Photography, Film, Video, and the Internet at 32 East 57th Street from January 6 through February 4, 2006. We are now in the third century in which reproductive media dominate our consciousness and construct our reality. First photography, then movies initiated the most radical change of artistic perception in history. These inventions made it possible to incorporate in image-making the transformed range of experiences that technology provides. Constructing Realities: Photography, Film, Video, and the Internet follows six artists from the 1960s through the present as they create new images using the ever-widening range of technological media available today to create six entirely diverse landscapes of the real.
An extraordinary group of 19 Diane Arbus photographs from the 1960s through 1970 represents photography as the first medium in which images were created by means of technology. Images in motion are represented by Andy Warhol’s radical 1965 color film of dancer Paul Swan. Stan Douglas’s 1995 Der Sandmann, a nine minute, 16 mm black and white film uses two film projectors synchronized to play so that their film tracks repeatedly overlap images of events in the same location taking place at different times. It was inspired by an E.T.A Hoffman horror story, whose introduction is recited by three narrators. Standing Apart/Facing Faces by Gary Hill (1996) is an installation piece involving two video monitors and two projectors, each representing the same subject, an American Indian man. Mike Kelley’s Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene) (2000) is a video piece presented on an old-fashioned TV mocking 1950s television style; it represents a domestic quarrel between two men a la I Love Lucy. Robert Whitman’s Local Report (2005), is a montage of live footage sent to him over the internet by 150 participants from various East Coast locations via cell phone video cameras and then later projected as a web cast. It is seen in this exhibition as a three-channel projection with sound. It can be accessed on the Internet at www.whitmanglobalreport.net.
Local Report, which debuted at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in early December 2005, presents an example of an artist adapting his perceptual pursuits to contemporary technology. In NEWS, a similar work produced in 1972, Whitman asked participants to call in their own local reports from pay phones.
Curator Bernice Rose remarks in an introduction to this exhibition: “The capacities for the transformation of reality were later reinforced and enlarged by television, video and the computer, and its concomitant new space, the Internet. With each new invention the ‘conquest of time and space’ boasted by the early inventors acquired new meanings and limits – and a wholly new compression of time and space was brought into play ushering in still newer constructions of reality and changes of form.”
Diane Arbus (1923-1971) studied with such luminaries as Berenice Abbott, Alexey Brodovitch, and Lisette Model before working as a magazine and fashion photographer. Beginning in the 1960s, Arbus began developing a unique artistic style and embarked upon her solo career. In 1963 and 1966 she was awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships. She taught in the late sixties at Parsons School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and Cooper Union. A year after her death The Museum of Modern Art organized a major exhibition of her work that traveled throughout the United States and Canada from 1972 to 1975. Thirty years later, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art organized the first international traveling retrospective of her photographs. Diane Arbus: Revelations opened in October 2003 and has traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It continues to travel to subsequent venues throughout the world until October 2006.
Stan Douglas (b.1960) is acutely aware of the psyche, and his video works focus on issues such as social alienation, social status, and racial conflicts. Der Sandmann, a 16mm black and white film loop also featured in Constructing Realities, debuted at the Whitney Biennial in March 1995. His work has been exhibited in numerous one-person exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume, Paris (1991); Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne (Centre Georges Pompidou), Paris (1994); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1994); the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1994); The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2000); and The Serpentine Gallery, London, England (2002), among others.
Gary Hill (b.1951), originally trained as a sculptor, has been working with video and sound since 1973. Primarily interested in the investigation of linguistics, his video works analyze how language shapes the image-making process, and consequently, how that process affects language. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the Golden Lion for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant in 1998. Since 1983, his work has been included in Documenta IX and six Whitney Biennial exhibitions. In 2001, The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, mounted an in-depth survey of his work that traveled to the Reina Sofia in Madrid and other venues in Europe and America.
Based in Los Angeles, Mike Kelley (b.1954) received his BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. His sculptures, video works, installations and extended collaborations with artists such as Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon and Tony Oursler have been exhibited extensively. Kelley received the Skowhegan Medal in Mixed Media in 1997, and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1985 and 1990. In 2003, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Major solo exhibitions include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Tate Liverpool; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Kunsthalle, Basel, among others.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) graduated with a degree in pictorial design from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Melon University) in 1945. Upon moving to New York, Warhol worked as a commercial illustrator for several magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker. He also designed advertising and window displays for retail stores. Warhol began painting appropriated images of pop culture, such as his famous Campbell Soup Can, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis series, in 1960, marking a significant turning point in his career. Warhol was also an avant-garde filmmaker, creating the cult classics “Chelsea Girls”, “Blow Job” and “Empire”, and in 1969, he founded Interview magazine. His prolific career lasted until his death in 1987.
Robert Whitman (b.1935) studied literature, drama, and visual arts at Rutgers University. In the late 1950s and 1960s he created some of the most important "Happenings". As a performance artist Whitman earned initial recognition for Prune Flat (1965), a theatrical piece that explored perceptual discrepancies between film and reality. Since then he has conceived and staged numerous performances, both indoor and outdoor works, in conjunction with the DIA Art Foundation. Whitman's theater works have also been staged at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
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