Robert Heinecken: Object Matter

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931–2006). _Are You Rea #1._ 1964–68. Lithograph, 10 13/16 x 7 7/8" (27.4 x 20cm). Mr. and Mrs. Clark Winter Fund. © 2013 The Robert Heinecken Trust

Robert Heinecken. Are You Rea #1. 1964-68

Lithograph, 10 13/16 x 7 7/8" (27.4 x 20cm). Mr. and Mrs. Clark Winter Fund. © 2018 The Robert Heinecken Trust

Glenn Lowry: Curator Eva Respini.

Eva Respini: This portfolio are photograms. The artist took a page from a magazine and he exposed that to light with photographic paper to render an image that combined both the front and the back of a single magazine page. So if you would hold up a magazine page to the light, you would see both the back and the front together in one image; and that's essentially what he did, and imprinted that on photographic paper. So this happens entirely in the darkroom. There's no camera, no lens involved.

Glenn Lowry: The portfolio takes its title, Are You Rea, from the first image in the sequence.

Eva Respini: One can read it in many different ways. I say Are You Rea, some people say Are You Rea. One can see this text as a fragment. Perhaps the question is "Are you ready?" or perhaps the question is, "Are you real?" And here the viewer is really asked to participate in completing this question and reading this image on multiple levels.

Glenn Lowry: Heinecken saw mass media as so ubiquitous in American culture that he likened it to nature.

Robert Heinecken: It's certainly not actual nature and maybe not as interesting as nature might be. But it is the most important vehicle by which we gain information. And therefore, I think of it as a kind of quasi-nature.

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