For more than a decade, Michael Wesely (German, b. 1963) has been inventing and refining techniques for making photographs with unusually long exposures—some as long as three years. In 1997 he began using this unique approach to photography to explore major urban construction projects, such as the rebuilding of Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. Buildings that are demolished or constructed over the course of Wesely’s long exposures often appear ghostlike, evoking simultaneously a vanishing and emerging presence. Open Shutter focuses on a major body of work created by Wesely at the invitation of The Museum of Modern Art. In the summer of 2001, he set up cameras at several locations in and around the Museum’s ambitious renovation and construction project. Completed in June 2004, at the conclusion of major construction, Wesely’s photographs provide an absorbing perspective on the historic transformation of the Museum’s home in the heart of a thriving city.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, which presents Open Shutter in full-page plates and enlarged details that enable readers to discover the rich complexity of each photograph.
Organized by Sarah Hermanson Meister, Associate Curator, Research and Collections, Department of Photography.