Posts Tagged ‘William Wegman

07
May
11

Exhibition: ‘Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960′ at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 26th January – 9th May 2011

 

Many thank to The Museum of Modern Art, New York for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

 

William Wegman
Foamy Aftershave (L-Foamy; R-Aftershave)
1982
28 1/2 x 22″ (72.4 x 55.9 cm) each
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Robert and Gayle Greenhill
© 2010 William Wegman

 

 

Laurel Nakadate
Lucky Tiger #151
2009
Chromogenic color print with ink fingerprints
4 x 6″ (10.2 x 15.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of the Peter Norton Family Foundation
© 2010 Laurel Nakadate

 

 

Laurel Nakadate
Lucky Tiger #181
2009
Chromogenic color print with ink fingerprints
4 x 6″ (10.2 x 15.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of the Peter Norton Family Foundation
© 2010 Laurel Nakadate

 

 

Gilbert & George
The Red Sculpture
1975
Chromogenic color print with text
9 1/8 x 13 7/8″ (23.2 x 35.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift.
© 2010 Gilbert & George

 

 

Matthew Barney
Drawing Restraint 9: Shimenawa
2005
Chromogenic color print in self-lubricating plastic frame
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Barbara Gladstone
© 2010 Matthew Barney

 

 

“Focusing on a wide range of images of performances that were expressly made for the artist’s camera, Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 draws together approximately 50 works from the Museum’s collection, and is on view from January 28 to May 9, 2011. Though performances are often intended to be experienced live, in real time, with photography playing an ancillary function in recording them, these works function as independent, expressive pictures, often staged in the absence of a public audience. At the center of these pictures is a performer (often the artist), posing or enacting an action conceived for the photographic lens. Among the works on view, approximately half are recent acquisitions by MoMA, including pieces by Laurel Nakadate, Rong Rong, Ai Weiwei, Huang Yan, and La Monte Young. Staging Action is organized by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, and Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

Beginning with Fluxus artists in the 1960s, Staging Action includes the work of George Maciunas, an artist who engaged the production of the self as positional rather than fixed and often played with transvestism. According to personal reminiscences of the American poet Emmett Williams, a friend, Maciunas’s closets were full of prom dresses that he scavenged from the Salvation Army. In his 1966 cross-dressing striptease, George Maciunas Performing for Self-Exposing Camera, New York, he reinforced the active construction of identity through gender indeterminacy. The participation of the camera as accomplice to the artist’s actions was also a constant theme in Vito Acconci’s work of the early 1970s. In Conversions I: Light, Reflections, Self-Control (1970-71), Acconci tried to feminize his male body by plucking hair from his chest and navel area, pushing his pectorals together to mimic breasts, and hiding his genitals between his legs. Performances that explored gender play were soon embraced by other artists. A few years later, Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman collaborated on a photo shoot in which they sported identical suits and red-haired wigs, each playing androgynous double to the other.

Staging Action continues with artists who experimented with the camera to test the physical and psychological limits of the body. Reacting against the post-World War II repressive sexual and political atmosphere of Austrian society, the group known as the Vienna Actionists – including Günter Brus, Otto Muehl, Herman Nitsch, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler – staged highly provocative actions that were mostly ritualistic, incorporating elements such as wine and animal blood from Dionysian rites and Christian ceremonies in an attempt to free human instincts that had been repressed by society. In the early 1990s, numerous artists living in Beijing’s East Village artist community actively engaged in endurance-based performances. On view is East Village, Beijing No. 22 (1994) by Rong Rong, an iconic picture of the now seminal performance known as 12 Square Meters, which takes its title from the size of the public urinal where the action took place. The artist Zhang Huan covered himself in fish guts and honey and sat motionless for an hour in the heat of a summer day as flies gathered on his body, while the photographer Rong Rong captured the gritty performance.

The face as a site for alteration and extreme expression is of particular interest to several artists in the exhibition. In his five-part work, Studies for Holograms (1970), Bruce Nauman poked, pulled, pinched, and kneaded his mouth, neck, and cheeks in extreme and cartoonish ways. For her 1972 work (Untitled) Facial Cosmetic Variations, Ana Mendieta used tape and make-up to mold and manipulate her face to create, at turns, disturbing and humorous results that reference the cosmetic changes women inflict upon themselves in the name of beauty. Lucas Samaras’s transformations in a series of self-portrait Polaroids from 1969-71 suggest the plasticity or mutability of identity itself. For these works, the artist utilized an array of wigs, pancake make-up, and props to transform himself into grotesque characters for the camera.

Other performances required a sustained, emotional engagement on the part of the artist. Bas Jan Ader’s particular brand of existential-based Conceptualism is crystallized in I’m too sad to tell you (1970), in which the artist cried in front of the camera. In 1971, Adrian Piper performed a time-lapse piece titled Food for Spirit. Inspired by an assignment to write a text on Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Piper began fasting in order to isolate herself into a state of self-transcendence, and took pictures of herself in front of a mirror to insure reconnaissance of her own body. The ability of the camera to both freeze and extend a moment in time was also instrumental to the Japanese artist Mieko Shiomi. In Disappearing Music for Face (1966), Shiomi sequenced a series of film stills focusing on the mouth of Yoko Ono as her smile intermittently faded into a neutral facial expression. In Laurel Nakadate’s pictures from the Lucky Tiger series that she conceived of in 2009 during a road trip through the American West, the artist is seen riding a horse in a cropped T-shirt, doing a backbend in cowboy boots by the Grand Canyon, and striking a Playboy pose in her “lucky tiger” bikinis, rehashing photographic conventions inspired by 1950s-style “cheesecake” and camera-club pictures. Lorna Simpson’s multi-part work, May, June, July, August ’57 / ’09 (2009) also responds to the photographic conventions of posing for the camera. Simpson turned to the photographic archive as source material, combining found photographs of a young African-American woman who posed for hundreds of pin-up pictures in 1957 in Los Angeles with her own performative self-portraits, in which she replicates every outfit, pose, and setting of the original photographs. Through juxtaposition, repetition, and de-contextualization, a historical fiction arises, whereby the two women, despite the many differences that separate them, seem to be joined through a shared identity.

The exhibition includes both off-the-cuff and staged performative gestures of political dissent. Ai Weiwei’s photographic series Study of Perspective (1995-2003) reveals a spirited irreverence toward national monuments. Traveling to various landmarks – from the Eiffel Tower to Tiananmen Square to the White House – the artist photographed his own arm extended in front of the camera’s lens as he gave each marker the middle finger. Robin Rhode’s pictures, presented sequentially in storyboard format, record situations in which the artist interacts with a set of objects that he has drawn, erased and redrawn in black charcoal on dilapidated walls. Untitled, (Dream House) (2005) comprises a sequence of 28 color photographs in which Rhode mimics the act of struggling to catch a television set, a chair, and a car that appear to have been thrown at him from above. In reality, these items are drawn in cartoonish lines on an exterior wall. Referencing the South African New Year custom of tossing out old objects, the artist identifies society’s two opposing poles: consumerism and dispossession. Rhode’s pictures, like those of the other artists in Staging Action, attest to the myriad ways in which photography constitutes – not just documents – performance as a conceptual exercise.”

Press release from the MOMA website

 

 

Rong Rong
East Village, Beijing, No. 22
1994
Gelatin silver print
21 7/16 x 14 5/8″ (54.5 x 37.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Family of Man Fund
© 2010 Rong Rong

 

 

Rong Rong
East Village, Beijing, No. 81
1994
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of Peter and Susan MacGill
© 2010 Rong Rong

 

 

Robert Gober
Untitled
1992-93. 
Gelatin silver print
16 3/4 x 12 5/8″ (42.5 x 32.1 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Werner and Elaine Dannheisser
© 2010 Robert Gober

 

 

Günter Brus
Self-Painting 1
1964
Gelatin silver print
15 7/8 x 11 15/16″ (40.4 x 30.4 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art
Gift of Steven Johnson and Walter Sudol
© 2010 Günter Brus

 

 

Arnulf Rainer
Braids
1966
Photograph, oil stick, crayon, and pencil on paper
11 1/2 x 10″ (29.2 x 25.1 cm)
Gift of The Cosmopolitan Arts Foundation
© 2010 Arnulf Rainer

 

 

Lee Friedlander
California
1997
Gelatin silver print
14 15/16 x 14 13/16″ (37.7 x 37.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Robert and Joyce Menschel Fund.
© 2010 Lee Friedlander

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-9400

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Monday: 10.30 am – 5.30 pm
Friday: 10.30 am – 8.00 pm
Closed Tuesday

The Museum of Modern Art website

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11
May
09

Exhibition: ‘William Wegman: Fay’ at the Akron Art Museum, Ohio

Exhibition dates: 16th May – 16th August, 2009

 

A selection of photographs of Fay by William Wegman. Gotta love that dog!

“The Akron Art Museum is deeply honored to be one of only two venues to present William Wegman: Fay, a wonderfully witty and moving exhibition about the artistic collaboration between William Wegman (b. 1943) and his celebrated Weimaraner Fay (1984 – 1995).

The breadth of Wegman’s audience is truly remarkable. In addition to being internationally renowned in art circles, he is one of the few artists to successfully disseminate his work – especially the photographs, videos and books featuring his beloved Weimaraner dogs – through the mass media.

 

William Wegman. 'Front-Facade' 1993

 

William Wegman
‘Front-Facade’
1993
Polaroid 

 

William Wegman. 'Miss Mit' 1993

 

William Wegman
‘Miss Mit’
1993
Polaroid  

 

William Wegman. 'On Set' 1994

 

William Wegman
‘On Set’
1994
Polaroid  

 

William Wegman. 'Patriotic Poodle' 1994

 

William Wegman
‘Patriotic Poodle’
1994
Polaroid  

 

 

Wegman is a conceptual artist who works in many different media. Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1943, he graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 with a BFA in painting. Subsequently, he enrolled in the Masters painting and printmaking program at the University of Illinois. In 1970, he moved to southern California and began exhibiting his photographs. He was one of the earliest artists to explore video and has used photography for over four decades.

While living in California, Wegman acquired Man Ray, a Weimaraner whom he named after the surrealist French photographer. The dog became his partner in both life and art during their 12 year collaboration. Man Ray became so famous that, upon his passing, he was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the New York City newspaper The Village Voice.

 

William Wegman. 'Basic Shapes In Color' 1993

 

William Wegman
‘Basic Shapes In Color’
1993

 

William Wegman. 'Fay Ray' 1988

 

William Wegman
‘Fay Ray’
1988

 

William Wegman. 'Oaken' 1992

 

William Wegman
‘Oaken’
1992

 

William Wegman. Lawn-Chair-1988

 

William Wegman
‘Lawn Chair’
1988

 

 

Grief-stricken by Ray’s death, Wegman made the decision not to get another dog, but some years later he came to meet another Weimaraner:

“When we first met in Memphis, Tennessee, she was six months old and her name was Cinnamon Girl. I named her Fay after Fay Wray, of course, but also after my first color Polaroid with Man Ray and the nail polish, which I had titled Fay Ray. Her fur was taupe, lighter and warmer-toned than Man Ray’s, and she had yellow eyes like in a Rousseau painting. I had no intention of photographing Fay. Man Ray was irreplaceable. I didn’t want to mar my memory of him.

… In a short time Fay matured from a coltish youth into a Garboesque beauty. My pictures grew with her. Now she was the muse, the adored one. Skin-deep beauty became the soul of my work.”

William Wegman, Polaroids, New York, 2002

 

Fay had a chameleon-like quality very different from Man Ray’s concrete presence. The bond between the artist and his muse is undeniable. Images of Fay balanced upon an ironing boarding in Sphinx (1987) and coolly starting into the lens from beneath a black net in Netted (1988) show her deep trust in Wegman. His work with Fay captures the canine in a spectrum of emotions. Her huge, expressive citron eyes convey in one shot tragedy and in the next, joy. A series of photographs show Fay swathed in human clothing, posed as a woman, with the human arms and legs of her co-model. The canine appears part human, her expression incredibly familiar. Fay also posed with a variety of props, from roller-skates to masks of fruit, flowers and other found objects.

 

William Wegman. 'Retriever' 1994

 

William Wegman
‘Retriever’
1994

 

William Wegman. U-Tree-1992

 

William Wegman
‘U-Tree’
1992

 

William Wegman. 'Untitled (Ghent Fay with Apples)' 1990

 

William Wegman
‘Untitled (Ghent Fay with Apples)’
1990

 

 

The Akron Art Museum is fortunate to be able to include in this exhibition not just black and white photographs but also large format Polaroids and chromogenic (color) prints, from the artist’s personal collection. In addition to 56 still photographs, extensive selections from Wegman’s videos featuring Fay will be on continuous view in the exhibition.”

Text from the Akron Art Museum website

 

 

Akron Art Museum

One South High
Akron, Ohio 44308

Opening hours
Wednesday – Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 11 am – 9 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday

Akron Art Museum website

William Wegman website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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