Archive for the 'Art Institute of Chicago' Category



06
Dec
10

Exhibition: ‘Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit’ at The Art Institute of Chicago

Exhibition dates: 25th September, 2010 – 9th January, 2011

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Newport Beach' 1970

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Newport Beach
1970
Gelatin silver print
© Lewis Baltz

 

 

“Baltz’s compositions appear to have been arranged, almost as a Braque still-life is ‘arranged’. Many of these photographs have the sense of a precisely constructed occasion, as if Baltz had built his subject matter before photographing it. This unity of subject and author is a characteristic of many fine photographs, but Baltz brings to this problem a narrow, powerful eye which is blindingly frontal and meticulous about detail.”1

 

 

  1. Anon. “Lewis Baltz,” on the American Suburb X website [Online] Cited 12/11/2010 no longer available online.

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Many thankx to The Art Institute of Chicago for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Mission Viejo' 1968

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Mission Viejo
1968
Gelatin silver print
The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Lewis Baltz, 1972.219
© Lewis Baltz

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Laguna Niguel' 1970

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Laguna Niguel
1970
Gelatin silver print
Laguna Art Museum Collection, Anonymous gift, in memory of Beula Prince
© Lewis Baltz

 

Lewis Baltz. 'New Monterey' 1968

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
New Monterey
1968
Gelatin silver print
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund 2001
© Lewis Baltz

 

 

Lewis Baltz (b. 1945) is one of the most prominent representatives of the “New Topographics” movement, which changed the direction of American photography in the 1970s and has had a formative impact on every generation since. However, Baltz’s innovations began already in the 1960s. The Art Institute of Chicago has organised the first survey ever of Lewis Baltz’s inaugural body of work, the Prototypes (c. 1967-1973). The exhibition also puts on view for the first time in 12 years Ronde de Nuit, a monumental work of the early 1990s. Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit – on view in the Modern Wing’s Bucksbaum Gallery (G188) from September 25, 2010 through January 9, 2011 – features 42 Prototype works, including several that have never before been published or exhibited. This is Baltz’s first solo exhibition in the United States in more than a decade.

Beginning in 1965, but especially from 1967 to 1973, Lewis Baltz made a body of work that concentrated on the dialectic between simple, regular geometric forms found in the postwar industrial landscape and the far from simple culture that generated such forms, or was conditioned by them. Stucco walls, parking lots, the sides of warehouse sheds, or disused billboards baked in the steady Californian sunlight – these and other “hyper-banal” subjects were printed in blacks and whites of a breathtaking tonal evenness. Baltz called his works “Prototypes,” by which he meant replicable social conventions as well as model structures of replicable manufacture. The fraught relation of neutral form to highly charged content plays itself out on the emphatically planar surface of these prints, objects that exude magnificence and severity simultaneously. Never before shown together as a group, the Prototypes are revealed in this exhibition as model creations for their time and ours. They are among the earliest artworks to show the fascinating, disturbing transformation of the American landscape into an unending terrain of anonymous commercial architecture as well among the first photographs to seek the starkly reductive forms of minimal and post-minimal art “out in the world.”

In 1971, upon seeing the Prototypes, gallery owner Leo Castelli immediately agreed to exhibit Baltz’s photographs, and he remained Baltz’s American representative until the artist relocated to Europe nearly 20 years later. Included in the presentation of Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit is a monumental sculpture by Sol LeWitt from the Art Institute’s permanent collection and a nine-foot oilstick drawing by Richard Serra – two artists also featured at Castelli, and whose work the young Baltz greatly admired. Bringing together these three artists for the first time, the exhibition shows the affinities and analogies that developed across media around 1970, when photography first moved to the center of concerns in contemporary art.

Augmenting Lewis Baltz: Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit is a piece made by Baltz in 1992, initially for an exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris. Measuring 35 feet across by 7 feet tall, and printed on aluminum-mounted cibachrome panels, Ronde de Nuit is as far in scale and appearance as one could get from the Prototypes. Yet across the manifest differences, this mural-size work maintains underlying continuities in the artist’s preoccupations. Baltz remains substantially concerned over the cancerous spread of our industrially manufactured habitat and how the elements of manufacture can be used to standardise and restrict the inhabitants – ourselves. Ronde de Nuit consists of 12 separate photographs, taken at a police surveillance station in northern France, to form a panoptic tableau of voyeurism and control. Some photographs are enlargements of closed-circuit screen images; others show mainframe computers, cable conduits, and other equipment in the bowels of the police station. The resulting composition merges Rembrandt with Piranesi in the digital age. Its effect on viewers is magnetic, moving, and uncanny.

Press release from The Art Institute of Chicago website

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Santa Cruz' 1970

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Santa Cruz
1970
Gelatin silver print
The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Lewis Baltz, 1972.221
© Lewis Baltz

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Corona Del Mar' 1971

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Corona Del Mar
1971
Gelatin silver print
The Art Institute of Chicago, Mary and Leigh Block Fund
© Lewis Baltz

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Morgan Hill' 1968

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Morgan Hill
1968
Gelatin silver print
The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Lewis Baltz, 1972.220
© Lewis Baltz

 

Lewis Baltz. 'Monterey' 1967

 

Lewis Baltz (American, born 1945)
Monterey
1967
Gelatin silver print
The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Lewis Baltz, 1972.218
© Lewis Baltz

 

 

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404
Phone: (312) 443-3600

Opening hours:
Daily 10.30 am – 5.00 pm
The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s days.

The Art Institute of Chicago website

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18
May
10

Exhibition: ‘William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008’ at The Art Institute of Chicago

Exhibition dates: 27th February – 23rd May 2010

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled (Memphis, Tennessee)' 1971

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled (Memphis, Tennessee)
1971
from 14 Pictures, 1974
Dye transfer print
15 7/8 x 19 15/16 in (40.3 x 50.6 cm)
Collection of Adam Bartos
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

 

THE classic William Eggleston, the one and only. Feel the heat of sun on body. Look at the construction of the image plane, all angles and fractures. The slight movement of the woman’s hand as she sits on a cracked yellow wall. The distance between her body and the metal pole with wrapped chain and padlock, that ice/fire tension as Minor White would say. Man with gun vs melancholy monochromatic self portrait, the reverie of the lone thinker. Colour and light as emotional sounding board, “colour as a means of discovery and expression, and as a way to highlight aspects of life hidden in plain sight.” This is what Eggleston points his democratic camera at – life hidden in plain sight, revealed in all its intricacies, in all its mundanity and glory.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to Chai Lee and the Art Institute of Chicago for allowing to me reproduce the photographs in this posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' 1970

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
1970
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
16 x 20 in (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Purchased with funds from the Photography Committee
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' 1975

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
1975
Dye transfer print
16 x 20 in (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
Cheim & Read, New York
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' c. 1971-73

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
c. 1971-73
from Troubled Waters, 1980
Dye transfer print
15 7/8 x 19 15/16 in (40.3 x 50.6 cm)
Collection Marcia Dunn and Jonathan Sobel
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' Nd

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
Nd
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
12 x 17 ¾ inches (30.5 x 45.1 cm)
Private collection
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' Nd

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
Nd
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
12 x 17 ¾ inches (30.5 x 45.1 cm)
Private collection
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' Nd

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
Nd
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
12 x 17 3/4 in (30.5 x 45.1 cm)
Private collection
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

 

 

The unconventional beauty and artistry of works by photographer William Eggleston will be showcased in a major exhibition opening at the Art Institute of Chicago this winter. William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 – on view from February 27 through May 23, 2010, in the Modern Wing’s Abbott Galleries (G182, G184) and Carolyn S. and Matthew Bucksbaum Gallery (G188) – is the most comprehensive retrospective to date of the Memphis-based contemporary photographer. The exhibition brings together more than 150 extraordinary images of familiar, everyday subjects with lesser-known, early black-and-white prints and provocative video recordings, all produced over a five-decade period.

Born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised on his family’s cotton plantation in Mississippi, William Eggleston held a casual interest in photography until 1959, when he came across photo books by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans. Among his earliest pictures, made during stints at universities in Tennessee and Mississippi, were black-and-white scenes found in his native South, as well as portraits of friends and family members.

By the 1960s and early 1970s he had begun experimenting with colour film, and he eventually produced rich, vivid prints through the dye transfer process – prints that are created through the alignment of three separate matrices (cyan, magenta, and yellow) generated from three separate negatives (red, green, and blue filters). The resulting prints are known for the vividness and permanence of their colours. Hence, Eggleston is often credited for single-handedly ushering in the era of colour art photography.

Eager to show his work to a broader audience, Eggleston traveled to New York with a suitcase of slides and prints to meet with Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) curator John Szarkowski. This visit eventually yielded a controversial but revolutionary exhibition in 1976 – MoMA’s first solo show to feature colour photographs – and a classic accompanying book, William Eggleston’s Guide. At this point in his career, Eggleston had already distinguished himself by treating colour as a means of discovery and expression, and as a way to highlight aspects of life hidden in plain sight.

William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 demonstrates Eggleston’s “democratic” approach to his photographic subjects in both colour and black-and-white. Everything that happens in front of the camera is worthy of becoming a picture for the artist – no matter how seemingly circumstantial or trivial. Eggleston finds his motifs in everyday life, resulting in telling portrayals of American culture. His iconic images such as Elvis’s Graceland, a supermarket clerk corralling grocery carts in the afternoon sunlight, and a freezer stuffed with food proves that the photographer points his “democratic camera” at everything. Eggleston’s quiet, thoughtful pictures have profoundly impacted subsequent generations of photographers, filmmakers, and scholars.

The exhibition also includes Eggleston’s cult video work, Stranded in Canton. In the 1960s, Eggleston used film to document Fred McDowell, a well-known Delta blues musician, but ultimately abandoned the film project. Eggleston later acquired a video camera and began using video to shoot in bars and in people’s homes; sometimes he shot monologues friends delivered for his video camera, most often at night. The result, Stranded in Canton, recently restored and re-edited, is a portrait of a woozy subculture that adds dimension and texture to the world of Eggleston’s colour photographs.

Internationally acclaimed, Eggleston has spent the past four decades photographing around the world, responding intuitively to fleeting configurations of cultural signs and specific expressions of local colour. By not censoring, rarely editing, and always photographing even the seemingly banal, Eggleston convinces us completely of the idea of the democratic camera.

Press release from the Art Institute of Chicago website [Online] Cited 15/05/2010 no longer available online

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' Nd

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
Nd
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
17 3/4 x 12 in. (45.1 x 30.5 cm)
Private collection.
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston. 'Untitled (Memphis Tennessee)' 1965

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled (Memphis Tennessee)
1965
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
17 ¾ x 12 inches (45.1 x 30.5 cm)
Private collection.
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Memphis' c. 1969-71

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Memphis
c. 1969-71
from William Eggleston’s Guide, 1976
Dye transfer print
24 x 20 in (61 x 50.8 cm)
Collection of John Cheim
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Morton, Mississippi' c. 1969-70

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Morton, Mississippi
c. 1969-70
from William Eggleston’s Guide 1976
Dye transfer print
13 3/8 x 8 11/16 in (34 x 22 cm)
Cheim & Read, New York
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Huntsville, Alabama' 1971

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Huntsville, Alabama
1971
from William Eggleston’s Guide 1976
Dye transfer print
20 x 15 7/8 in (50.8 x 40.3 cm.)
University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses, Oxford
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'Untitled' Nd

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
Untitled
Nd
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
17 ¾ x 12 in (45.1 x 30.5 cm)
Private collection
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939) 'En Route to New Orleans' 1971-1974

 

William Eggleston (American, b. 1939)
En Route to New Orleans
1971-1974
from Los Alamos, 1965-1974 (published 2003)
Dye transfer print
17 3/4 x 12 in. (45.1 x 30.5 cm)
Private collection
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

 

 

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603-6404
Phone: (312) 443-3600

Opening hours:
Daily 10.30am – 5.00pm and Thursdays until 8.00pm

The Art Institute of Chicago website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

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