Like many of the works in New Photography 2009, Sara VanDerBeek’s photographs are made entirely in the studio. She collects pictures from various sources, including art history books, archives, magazines, and newspapers, and incorporates them into sculptures that are made only to be photographed. After Sara photographs her sculptures, they are immediately dismantled, and her picture is the only remaining evidence of the temporary structure.
Posts by Eva Respini
“Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that wretch. I had gazed on her while unfinished; she was ugly then, but when those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.” —excerpt from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Daniel Gordon‘s photographs elicit attraction and repulsion. They are irresistibly vibrant and tactile, but also surreal and grotesque. His works are not what they appear to be at first glance. They look like collages, but upon further inspection the photographs reveal themselves to be pictures of sculptures. The female figures in the photographs are cobbled together from found images on the Internet that the artist prints out and constructs into three-dimensional tableaus. The sculptures are photographed and then immediately disassembled so that the artist can use the body parts for new works. The works are made alive and exist only through the act of photography. Read more
I think it’s a really vital moment for photography right now. Over the past few years, a number of artists have re-opened the discussion on the nature of photography, investigating the materials and processes of the medium itself. Of course, this recent examination is part of a long lineage of experimentation in photography, seen in the work of artistic giants such as László Moholy-Nagy (included in MoMA’s current Bauhaus exhibition) as well as in more recent experimentation by artists such as James Welling. Walead Beshty is active in many of these discussions, as both a writer on the subject and an artist addressing the basic processes of photography. Read more
Vik Muniz is one of the smartest and funniest artists that I have had the pleasure of working with. Last year, as part of the Artist’s Choice exhibition series, Muniz curated a show drawn from the Museum’s collection, and I worked closely with him to realize the project, titled Rebus. Muniz’s installation was one of the most memorable exhibitions from the series, and it gave me insight into the artist’s working process. This collaboration resulted from a long and ongoing relationship—since Muniz first exhibited his work at MoMA in 1997 in New Photography 13, the Museum has been showing and collecting his photographs. MoMA has recently added to the collection a key picture by Muniz, Action Photo, after Hans Namuth from Pictures of Chocolate, and we hope to continue our exploration and appreciation of this leading artist’s work. Read more
Leslie Hewitt has a way with space. When I first saw her work (the series Riffs on Real Time at the Studio Museum Harlem), I liked how the pictorial space in the pictures was flattened, calling my attention to the photograph’s surface. Of course, we all know that photographs are two-dimensional, but they can be pretty convincing windows into a seemingly real world. In her work, Leslie counters this illusion by creating pictures wherein space is collapsed, compressed, or disoriented. I was not surprised to learn that she is also a sculptor, which can be seen in her methodical approach to image-making. Read more
New Photography is one of my favorite shows to organize. Generally, it means working with artists of my own generation, and introducing work that I really believe in to a larger audience. New Photography is about new ideas and new ways of working, and this year’s installment of the exhibition series (which has been around since 1985) is no different. While in previous years we have highlighted work of artists that are not artistically related, this year, I decided to take a thematic approach and bring together the works of artists that participate in the lively debate on the nature of photography in the twenty-first century. This new approach to the exhibition series is an experiment, which is very much in the spirit of the work in the show. Read more