Posts Tagged ‘Are You Rea


Exhibition: ‘Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960’ at CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY

Exhibition dates: 19th September – 13rd December 2014

Artists: Thomas Barrow, Wayne Belger, Stephen Berkman, Matthew Brandt, Dan Burkholder, Darryl Curran, Binh Danh, Rick Dingus, Dan Estabrook, Robert Fichter, Robert Flynt, Judith Golden, Betty Hahn, Robert Heinecken, Robert Hirsch, Catherine Jansen, Harold Jones, Tantana Kellner, Les Krims, William Larson, Dinh Q. Lê, David Lebe, Martha Madigan, Curtis Mann, Stephen Marc, Scott McCarney, Chris McCaw, John Metoyer, Duane Michals, Vik Muniz, Joyce Neimanas, Bea Nettles, Ted Orland, Douglas Prince, Holly Roberts, Clarissa Sligh, Keith Smith, Jerry Spagnoli, Mike & Doug Starn, Brian Taylor, Maggie Taylor, Jerry Uelsmann, Todd Walker, Joel-Peter Witkin, John Wood.

Curator: Robert Hirsch



Vik Muniz. 'Picture of Dust' 2000


Vik Muniz (Brazilian, b. 1961)
Picture of Dust (Barry Le Va, Continuous and Related Activities; Discontinued by the Act of Dropping, 1967, Installed at the Whitney Museum in New Sculpture 1965-75: Between Geometry and Gesture, February 20-June 3, 1990)
From the series The Things Themselves: Picture of Dust
Framed, overall: 51 x 130 1/2 inches
Two silver dye bleach prints (Ilfochrome)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY



The resurgence of handmade photography in the 1960s had several sources and influences. It looked back to the “anti-tradition” of nineteenth-century romanticism, which accentuated the importance of making a highly personal response to experience and a critical response to society. It drew on contemporary popular culture. Many of the artists engaged in this movement were baby-boomers brought up on television and film, media that often portrayed photography as hip and sexy – eg. the film Blow-Up (1966) – and which drove home the significance of constructed photographic images. In addition, the widespread atmosphere of rebellion against social norms propelled the move toward handwork. The rejection of artistic standards in photography was consistent with the much broader exploration of sexual mores and gender roles that took place in the sixties. It was also consistent with the exploration of consciousness. The latter was encouraged by such counter-culture figures as Ken Kesey who, with his band of Merry Pranksters, boarded a Day-Glo bus called “Further” and took an LSD-fuelled trip across the country that echoed Dr. Timothy Leary’s decree “to tune in, turn on, and drop out.” On a broader level, the society-at-large was exposed to psychedelic exploration through Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which youthful audiences saw as a mysterious consciousness-expanding trip into humanity’s future. Finally, handmade photography was supported by the general growth of photographic education in the university. The ubiquity and importance of the medium in the culture at large, as well as pressure from those who championed photography from within art institutions gave credence in the post-war decades to the idea that people could study photography seriously. As new photography programs mushroomed in the universities, they produced graduates who took teaching positions in even newer programs. Many of these young teachers, who had grown up to the adage of “do your own thing,” were responsive to unconventional ways of seeing and working, and they encouraged these attitudes in their students, many of whom turned to handmade photography.

Despite the attractions of handmade photography there were in the sixties, and still are to some degree, emphatic objections to the open engagement of the hand in photographic art. One common objection is that such art constitutes a dishonest method to cover up aesthetic and technical inadequacies. Another comes from those who believe strongly in the Western tradition of positivism. These people tend to reject handmade photography on the grounds that it is unnecessarily ambiguous or irrational in its meanings. Nevertheless, more artists than ever are currently using the flexible, experiential methods of handwork. In addition to opening up an avenue to inner experience, artists find handwork attractive because it promotes inventiveness, allows for the free play of intuition beyond the control of the intellect, extends the time of interaction with an image (on the part of both the maker and the viewer), and allows for the inclusion of a wide range of materials and processes within the boundaries of photography…

[Curator] Peter C. Bunnell’s innovative exhibitions [MoMA: Photography as Printmaking (1968) and Photography Into Sculpture (1970)] demonstrated that in essence photography is nothing more than light sensitive material on a surface. The exhibitions also recognized that the way a photograph is perceived and interpreted is established by artistic and societal preconceptions about how a photographic subject is supposed to look and what is accepted as truthful. The work in the Bunnell exhibitions was indicative of a larger zeitgeist of the late 1960s that involved leaving the safety net of custom, exploring how to be more aware of and physically connected to the world, and critically examining expectations with regard to lifestyles…

In spite of post-modernism’s assault on the myth of authorship and its sardonic outlook regarding the human spirit, artists who produce handmade photography continue to believe that individuals can make a difference, that originality matters, and that we learn and understand by doing. They think that a flexible image is a human image, an imperfect and physically crafted one that possesses its own idiosyncratic sense of essence, time, and wonder. Their work can be aesthetically difficult, as it may not provide the audience-friendly narratives and well-mannered compositions some people expect. But sometimes this is necessary to get us to set aside the ordained answers to the question: “What is a photograph?” and allow us to recognise photography’s remarkable diversity in form, structure, representational content, and meaning. This acknowledgment grants artists the freedom and respect to explore the full photographic terrain, to engage the medium’s broad power of inquiry, and to present the wide-ranging complexity of our experiences, beliefs, and feelings for others to see and contemplate.

Extract from Flexible Images: Handmade American Photography, 1969-2002 by Robert Hirsch (2003) on the Light Research website [Online] Cited 14/11/2014. First published in The Society for Photographic Education’s exposure, Volume 36: 1, 2003, cover and pages 23-42. © Robert Hirsch 2003

Many thankx to CEPA Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Thomas Barrow. 'Dart, Albuquerque' 1974


Thomas Barrow (American, b. 1938)
Dart, Albuquerque
Fuji Crystal Archive Print


Thomas Barrow. 'f/t/s Cancellations (Brown) - Field Star' 1975


Thomas Barrow (American, b. 1938)
f/t/s Cancellations (Brown) – Field Star
Gift from the Collection of Joel Deal and Betsy Ruppa
© Thomas Barrow. Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, Providence



Barrow scratched through his landscape negatives, calling attention to the materiality of the medium itself and the fact that regardless of how much information is given, reality remains an accumulation of belief, knowledge, and one’s own experience.


Les Krims. 'The Static Electric Effect of Minnie Mouse on Mickey Mouse Balloons' 1968


Les Krims (American, b. 1942)
The Static Electric Effect of Minnie Mouse on Mickey Mouse Balloons
Kodalith Print



“Kodak Kodalith paper was a thin, matt, orthochromatic graphic arts paper that was not intended for pictorial purposes. However, when it was used for pictorial expression its responsiveness to time and temperature controls during development enabled one to produce a wide range of grainy, high-contrast, and sepia tonal effects. Its unusual handling characteristics also meant that photographers had to pull the print at precisely the “right” moment from the developer and quickly get it into the stop bath, making each print unique.”


Din Q Le. 'Ezekial’s Whisper' 2014


Din Q Le (Vietnamese American, b. 1968)
Ezekial’s Whisper
C-print, linen tape


Ted Orland. 'Meteor!' 1998


Ted Orland (American, b. 1941)
Hand coloured gelatin silver print


Brian Taylor. 'Our Thoughts Wander' 2005


Brian Taylor (American)
Our Thoughts Wander
From the series Open Books
Hand bound book



Open Books

I create photographically illustrated books springing from my fascination with the book format and a love of texture in art. My imagery is inspired by the surreal and poetic moments of living in our fast-paced, modern world. I’m fascinated by how daily life in the 21st Century presents us with incredible experiences in such regularity that we no longer differentiate between what is natural and what is coloured with implausibility, humour, and irony.

These hard cover books are hand bound with marbleised paper and displayed fully opened to a photographically illustrated two-page folio spread. Each book is framed in a wooden shadowbox and presented as a wall piece. I like the idea of making art that contains some imagery which can be sensed but not seen. The underlying pages contain my photographs, snapshots, and work prints that “gave their lives” for the imagery visible in the open spread. These images lie beneath the open pages like history.1


David Lebe. 'Angelo On The Roof' 1979


David Lebe (American, b. 1948)
Angelo On The Roof


Jerry Uelsmann (American, born 1934) 'Small Woods where I met Myself (Final Version)' 1967


Jerry Uelsmann (American, b. 1934)
Small Woods where I met Myself (Final Version)
Gelatin silver print
25.4 x 32.3cm (10 x 12 11/16 in.)
© 1967 Jerry Uelsmann


Robert Heinecken. 'Are You Rea #15' 1968


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Are You Rea #15
Offset lithography


David Levinthal and Garry Trudeau. 'Untitled', from the series 'Hitler Moves East' 1977


David Levinthal (American, b. 1949) and Garry Trudeau (American, b. 1948)
Untitled, from the series Hitler Moves East
8 x 10 inches
Gelatin silver (Kodalith) print
Courtesy Paul Morris Gallery, New York City



My favourite story comes from the early days of Levinthal’s career, when he was a college student working on Hitler Moves East with Garry Trudeau. They worked with childlike enthusiasm, purchasing smoke bombs from a local theatre supply shop and growing grass inside David’s apartment to achieve maximum realism. This culminated in a huge explosion of smoke, and the photograph above. Forever making jokes, Levinthal had this to say about the situation: “I’m not even sure we had 911 those days, so that was probably helpful.” He sometimes describes incidents in which things went wrong, but thankfully this wasn’t one of those situations. Instead he successfully produced this photo and began a transition from the early works, which show toys rearranged on his linoleum floor, to photographs that are sophisticated and deceptively real looking.

Ashleigh Ferran. “From Toys to Art: Learning from David Levinthal,” on the Corcoran website August 7, 2013 [Online] Cited 02/07/2021


Joel-Peter Witkin. 'Poussin in Hell' 1999


Joel-Peter Witkin (American, b. 1939)
Poussin in Hell
Toned gelatin silver print


Douglas Prince. 'Untitled' 1969


Douglas Prince (American, b. 1943)
Film and Plexiglas
5 x 5 x 2.5 inches


Mike and Doug Starn. 'Double Rembrandt with Steps' 1987-88


Mike and Doug Starn (American, b. 1961)
Double Rembrandt with Steps
Toned gelatin silver print, toned ortho film, wood, Plexiglas, and glue.
108 x 108 inches
Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY



CEPA Gallery is pleased to announce Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960, a companion exhibition to Robert Hirsch’s recently published book of the same title (Focal Press). This extraordinary exhibition features work by some of the most innovative photographers and imagemakers of the mid- 20th century through today; artists who redefined the notion of photography as a medium and left an indelible mark on contemporary photographic practices.

This extensive survey will include more than 140 works by over 40 artists spanning nearly 50 years of artistic practice unified by a curatorial arc rooted in notions that deviate from the purview of traditional photographic practice. Citing Robert Heinecken’s practice as the genesis of conceptual handmade photography, this exhibition charts an intricate universe of artists whose practice dispenses with the self-prescribed limitations of conventional photography in order to mine the boundless potential of the photographic medium as a conceptual conveyance.

Transformational Imagemaking is the culmination of Hirsch’s lifelong exploration into handmade photography and the artists whose practices were formed on the principle of unearthing new possibilities. Hirsch sites the catalyst for the project as an article he published in exposure in 2003 entitled “Flexible Images: Handmade American Photography, 1969-2002”. It has since expanded into a comprehensive publication that includes personal conversations with each artist conducted over a six-month period during 2013. CEPA will now elaborate further by mounting an exhibition that features a selection of each artist’s work.

In addition to Transformational Imagemaking, CEPA will also show the complete folio of Robert Heinecken’s seminal series Are You Rea (1966). Considered to be the grandfather of post-modern photographic practices and a major figure of 20th century art, Heinecken was a key figure in promoting new sentiments about photography as an art form, influencing artists such Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, and others. Heinecken’s rebellious spirit challenged conventions about the ways photographs represent the tangible world: “We constantly tend to misuse or misunderstand the term reality in relation to photographs. The photograph itself is the only thing that is real.”

Are You Rea (1966), created by contact printing magazine tear-outs onto photographic paper, are ghostly compositions that layer sexually suggestive images of women with fractured text. This provocative body of work, sexually charged and evocatively ambiguous, reflects an awareness of desire as a commercial commodity that begs us to question the very root of our own desires.

Press release from CEPA Gallery


Keith Smith. 'Untitled' 1972


Keith Smith (American, b. 1938)


Binh Danh. 'The Botany of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum #2' 2008


Binh Danh (American born Vietnam, b. 1977)
The Botany of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum #2
From the Immortality: The Remnants of the Vietnam and American War series
Chlorophyll print and resin



The chlorophyll process is an organic alternative photography process akin to the anthotype process. However, instead of printing on the crushed extract of fruit or plant matter, the prints are bleached by sunlight directly onto the surface of leaves using a positive. The resulting images are stunningly delicate and beautiful, ranging from haunting silhouettes to crisp definition. Despite the simplicity of the finished product, the process itself can be tedious with plenty of trial and error.

Drawing on the anthotype process, Danh refined a method for securing a positive directly to a live leaf and allowing sunlight to bleach the image onto its surface naturally. He has also addressed a fundamental challenge with natural photography processes; that of fixing the image to prevent further bleaching and deterioration over time. To save his work, Dah casts his finished pieces in a layer of resin allowing them to be enjoyed for years to come.

Tiffany Pereira. “The chlorophyll process,” on the Alternative Photography website [Online] Cited 02/07/2021


Dinh Q. Lê Vietnamese, born 1968 'Untitled' 1998


Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b. 1968)
Untitled, from the series Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness
C-print and linen tape


Dan Estabrook. 'Fever' 2004


Dan Estabrook (American, b. 1969)
Salt print with ink and watercolor


Robert Fichter. 'Roast Beast 3' 1968


Robert Fichter (American, b. 1939)
Roast Beast 3
Verifax transfer with rundowns, stamping, and crayon


Robert Heineken. 'Are You Rea #1' 1966


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Are You Rea #1
Offset lithography


Chris McCaw. 'Sunburned GSP #676 (San Francisco Bay)' 2013


Chris McCaw (American, b. 1971)
Sunburned GSP #676 (San Francisco Bay)
Gelatin Silver paper negative


Curtis Mann. 'Photographer, Scratch' 2009


Curtis Mann (American, b. 1979)
Photographer, Scratch
Bleached c-print with synthetic polymer varnish


Vik Muniz. 'Atlas (Carlao)' 2008


Vik Muniz (Brazilian, b. 1961)
Atlas (Carlao)
Digital C-print



CEPA Gallery
617 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Phone: (716) 856-2717

Opening hours:
Wednesday: 12.00pm – 4.00pm
Thursday: 4.00pm -7.00pm
Friday: 12:00pm – 4.00pm
Saturday: 12.00pm – 4.00pm

CEPA Gallery website


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Exhibition: ‘Robert Heinecken: Object Matter’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 15th March – 7th September 2014

Curators: Eva Respini, Curator, with Drew Sawyer, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art



Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure Horizon #1' 1971


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure Horizon #1
Ten canvas panels with photographic emulsion
Each 11 13/16 x 11 13/16″ (30 x 30cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Shirley C. Burden, by exchange



A bumper posting on probably the most important photo-media artist who has ever lived. This is how to successfully make conceptual photo-art.

A revolutionary artist, this para-photographer’s photo puzzles are just amazing!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thank to MoMA for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Le Voyeur / Robbe-Grillet #2' 1972


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Le Voyeur / Robbe-Grillet #2
Three canvas panels with bleached photographic emulsion and pastel chalk
14 x 40″ (35.6 x 101.6cm)
George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. Museum Purchase with National Endowment for the Arts support


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Child Guidance Toys' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Child Guidance Toys
Black-and-white film transparency
5 x 18 1/16″ (12.7 x 45.8cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Boardroom, Inc.


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Lessons in Posing Subjects / Matching Facial Expressions' 1981


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Lessons in Posing Subjects / Matching Facial Expressions
Fifteen internal dye diffusion transfer prints (SX-70 Polaroid) and lithographic text on Rives BFK paper
15 x 20″ (38.1 x 50.8cm)
Collection UCLA Grunwald Center for Graphic Art, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Kodak Safety Film / Taos Church' 1972


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Kodak Safety Film / Taos Church
Black-and-white film transparency
40 x 56″ (101.6 x 142.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Photography Fund


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'As Long As Your Up' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
As Long As Your Up
Black-and-white film transparency
15 1/2 x 19 5/8″ (39.4 x 49.8cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago. Courtesy Petzel Gallery, New York


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Periodical #5' 1971


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Periodical #5
Offset lithography on found magazine
12 1/4 x 9″ (31.1 x 22.9cm)
Collection Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons, New York


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Six Figures/Mixed' 1968


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Six Figures/Mixed
Layered Plexiglas and black-and-white film transparencies
5.75 x 9.75 x 1.5″ (14.61 x 24.77 x 3.81cm)
Collection Darryl Curran, Los Angeles


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure / Foliage #2' 1969


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure / Foliage #2
Layered Plexiglas and black-and-white film transparencies
5 x 5 x 1 1/4″ (12.7 x 12.7 x 3.2cm)
Collection Anton D. Segerstrom, Corona del Mar, California




Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Kaleidoscopic Hexagon #2
Six gelatin silver prints on wood
Diameter: 14″ (35.6cm)
Black Dog Collection. Promised gift to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) '24 Figure Blocks' 1966


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
24 Figure Blocks
Twelve gelatin silver prints on wood blocks, and twelve additional wood blocks
14 1/16 x 14 1/16 x 13/16″ (35.7 x 35.7 x 2.1cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gift of Jeanne and Richard S. Press


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Multiple Solution Puzzle' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Multiple Solution Puzzle
Sixteen gelatin silver prints on wood
11 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 1″ (28.6 x 28.6 x 2.5cm)
Collection Maja Hoffmann/LUMA Foundation



The Museum of Modern Art presents Robert Heinecken: Object Matter, the first retrospective of the work of Robert Heinecken since his death in 2006 and the first exhibition on the East Coast to cover four decades of the artist’s unique practice, from the early 1960s through the late 1990s, on view from March 15 to September 7, 2014. Describing himself as a “para-photographer,” because his work stood “beside” or “beyond” traditional ideas associated with photography, Heinecken worked across multiple mediums, including photography, sculpture, printmaking, and collage. Culling images from newspapers, magazines, pornography, and television, he recontextualized them through collage and assemblage, photograms, darkroom experimentation, and rephotography. His works explore themes of commercialism, Americana, kitsch, sex, the body, and gender. In doing so, the works in this exhibition expose his obsession with popular culture and its effects on society, and with the relationship between the original and the copy. Robert Heinecken: Object Matter is organised by Eva Respini, Curator, with Drew Sawyer, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition will travel to the Hammer Museum, and will be on view there from October 5, 2014 through January 17, 2015.

Heinecken dedicated his life to making art and teaching, establishing the photography program at UCLA in 1964, where he taught until 1991. He began making photographs in the early 1960s. The antithesis of the fine-print tradition exemplified by West Coast photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, who photographed landscapes and objects in sharp focus and with objective clarity, Heinecken’s early work is marked by high contrast, blur, and under- or overexposure, as seen in Shadow Figure (1962) and Strip of Light (1964). In the mid-1960s he began combining and sequencing disparate pictures, as in Visual Poem/About the Sexual Education of a Young Girl (1965), which comprises seven black-and-white photographs of dolls with a portrait of his then-five-year-old daughter Karol at the centre.

The female nude is a recurring motif, featured in Refractive Hexagon (1965), one of several “photopuzzles” composed of photographs of female body parts mounted onto 24 individual “puzzle” pieces. Other three-dimensional sculptures – geometric volumes ranging in height from five to 22 inches – consist of photographs mounted onto individual blocks, which rotate independently around a central axis. In Fractured Figure Sections (1967), as in Refractive Hexagon, the female figure is never resolved as a single image – the body is always truncated, never contiguous. In contrast, a complete female figure can be reconstituted in his largest photo-object, Transitional Figure Sculpture (1965), a towering 26-layer octagon composed from photographs of a nude that have been altered using various printing techniques. At the time, viewer engagement was key to creating random configurations and relationships in the work; any number of possibilities may exist, only to be altered with the next manipulation. Today, due to the fragility of the works, these objects are displayed in Plexiglas-covered vitrines. However, the number of sculptures and puzzles gathered here offer the viewer a sense of this diversity.

Heinecken’s groundbreaking suite Are You Rea (1964-68) is a series of 25 photograms made directly from magazine pages. Representative of a culture that was increasingly commercialised, technologically mediated, and suspicious of established truths, Are You Rea cemented Heinecken’s interest in the multiplicity of meanings inherent in existing images and situations. Culled from more than 2000 magazine pages, the work includes pictures from publications such as Life, Time, and Woman’s Day, contact-printed so that both sides are superimposed in a single image. Heinecken’s choice of pages and imagery are calculated to reveal specific relationships and meanings – ads for Coppertone juxtaposed with ads for spaghetti dinners and an article about John F. Kennedy superimposed on an ad for Wessex carpets – the portfolio’s narrative moves from relatively commonplace and alluring images of women to representations of violence and the male body.

Heinecken began altering magazines in 1969 with a series of 120 periodicals titled MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade. He used the erotic men’s magazine Cavalcade as source material, making plates of every page, and randomly printing them on pages that were then reassembled into a magazine, now scrambled. In the same year, he disassembled numerous Time magazines, imprinting pornographic images taken from Cavalcade on every page, and reassembled them with the original Time covers. He circulated these reconstituted magazines by leaving them in waiting rooms or slipping them onto newsstands, allowing the work to come full circle – the source material returning to its point of origin after modification. He reprised this technique in 1989 with an altered issue of Time titled 150 Years of Photojournalism, a greatest hits of historical events seen through the lens of photography.


Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Installation views of 'Robert Heinecken: Object Matter' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


Installation views of Robert Heinecken: Object Matter at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Photos by Jonathan Muzikar
© The Museum of Modern Art


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Breast / Bomb #5' 1967


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Breast / Bomb #5
Gelatin silver prints, cut and reassembled
38 1/2 x 38 1/4″ (97.8 x 97.2cm)
Denver Art Museum. Funds From 1992 Alliance For Contemporary Art Auction


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Then People Forget You' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Then People Forget You
Gelatin silver print
10 3/8 x 12 15/16″ (26.3 x 32.8cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Boardroom, Inc.


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Cliche Vary / Autoeroticism' 1974


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Cliche Vary / Autoeroticism
Eleven canvas panels with photographic emulsion and pastel chalk
39 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (100.3 x 100.3cm)
Collection Susan and Peter MacGill, New York


Robert Heinecken. 'Surrealism on TV' 1986


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Surrealism on TV
216 35 mm colour slides, slide-show time variable
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago; courtesy Cherry and Martin Gallery, Los Angeles
© 2013 The Robert Heinecken Trust.


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Shiva Manifesting as a Single Mother' 1989


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Shiva Manifesting as a Single Mother
Magazine paper, paint and varnish
Collection Philip F. Denny, Chicago
© 2014 The Robert Heinecken Trust



Transparent film is also used in many of Heinecken’s works to explore different kinds of juxtapositions. In Kodak Safety Film / Christmas Mistake (1971), pornographic images are superimposed on a Christmas snapshot of Heinecken’s children with the suggestion in the title that somehow two rolls of film were mixed up at the photo lab. Kodak Safety Film / Taos Church (1972) takes photography itself as a subject, picturing an adobe church in New Mexico that was famously photographed by Ansel Adams and Paul Strand, and painted by Georgia O’Keeffe and John Marin. Presented as a negative, Heinecken’s version transforms an icon of modernism into a murky structure flanked by a pickup truck, telephone wires, and other modern-day debris.

Heinecken’s hybrid photographic paintings, created by applying photographic emulsion on canvas, are well represented in the exhibition. In Figure Horizon #1(1971), Heinecken reprised the cut-and-reassemble techniques from his puzzles and photo-sculptures, sequencing images of sections of the nude female body, to create impossible undulating landscapes. Cliché Vary, a pun on the 19th-century cliché verre process, is comprised of three large-scale modular works, all from 1974: Autoeroticism, Fetishism, and Lesbianism. The works are comprised of separately stretched canvas panels with considerable hand-applied colour on the photographic image, invoking clichés associated with autoeroticism, fetishism, and lesbianism. Reminiscent of his cut-and-reassembled pieces, each panel features disjointed views of bodies and fetish objects that never make a whole, and increase in complexity, culminating with Lesbianism, which is made with seven or eight different negatives.

In the mid-1970s, Heinecken experimented with new materials introduced by Polaroid – specifically the SX-70 camera (which required no darkroom or technical know-how) – to produce the series He/She (1975-1980) and, later, Lessons in Posing Subjects (1981-82). Heinecken experimented with different types of instant prints, including the impressive two-panel S.S. Copyright Project: “On Photography” (1978), made the year after the publication of Susan Sontag’s collection of essays On Photography (1977). The S.S. Copyright Project consists of a magnified and doubled picture of Sontag, derived from the book’s dustcover portrait (taken by Jill Krementz). The work equates legibility with physical proximity – from afar, the portraits appear to be grainy enlargements from a negative (or, to contemporary eyes, pixilated low-resolution images), but at close range, it is apparent that the panels are composed of hundreds of small photographic scraps stapled together. The portrait on the left is composed of photographs of Sontag’’ text; the right features random images taken around Heinecken’s studio by his assistant.

Heinecken’s first large-scale sculptural installation, TV/Time Environment (1970), is the earliest in a series of works that address the increasingly dominant presence of television in American culture. In the installation, a positive film transparency of a female nude is placed in front of a functioning television set in an environment that evokes a living room, complete with recliner chair, plastic plant, and rug. Continuing his work with television, Heinecken created videograms – direct captures from the television that were produced by pressing Cibachrome paper onto the screen to expose the sensitized paper. Inaugural Excerpt Videograms (1981) features a composite from the live television broadcast of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration speech and the surrounding celebrations. The work, originally in 27 parts, now in 24, includes randomly chosen excerpts of the oration and news reports of it. Surrealism on TV (1986) explores the idea of transparency and layering using found media images to produce new readings. It features a slide show comprised of more than 200 images loaded into three slide projectors and projected in random order. The images generally fit into broad categories, which include newscasters, animals, TV evangelists, aerobics, and explosions.

Text from the MoMA press release


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure Cube' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure Cube
Gelatin silver prints on Masonite
5 7/8 x 5 7/8″ (15 x 15cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure in Six Sections' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure in Six Sections
Gelatin silver prints on wood blocks
8 1/2 x 3 x 3″ (21.6 x 7.6 x 7.6cm)
Collection Kathe Heinecken. Courtesy The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Fractured Figure Sections' 1967


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Fractured Figure Sections
Gelatin silver prints on wood blocks
8 1/4 x 3 x 3″ (21 x 7.6 x 7.6cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Photography Council Fund and Committee on Photography Fund


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'The S.S. Copyright Project: "On Photography"' (Part 1 of 2) 1978


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
The S.S. Copyright Project: “On Photography” (Part 1 of 2)
Collage of black and white instant prints attached to composite board with staples
b 47 13/16 x 47 13/16″ (121.5 x 121.5cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased as the partial gift of Celeste Bartos


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Recto/Verso #2' 1988


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Recto/Verso #2
Silver dye bleach print
8 5/8 x 7 7/8″ (21.9 x 20cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Clark Winter Fund


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Figure Parts / Hair' 1967


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Figure Parts / Hair
Black-and-whtie film transparencies over magazine-page collage
16 x 12″ (40.6 x 30.5cm)
Collection Karol Heinecken Mora, Los Angeles


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'V.N. Pin Up' 1968


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
V.N. Pin Up
Black-and-white film transparency over magazine-page collage
12 1/2 x 10″ (31.8 x 25.4cm)
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Gift of Daryl Gerber Stokols


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Typographic Nude' 1965


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Typographic Nude
Gelatin silver print
14 1/2 x 7″ (36.8 x 17.8cm)
Collection Geofrey and and Laura Wyatt, Santa Barbara, California


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Are You Rea #1' 1968


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Are You Rea #1
Twenty-five gelatin silver prints
Various dimensions
Collection Jeffrey Leifer, San Francisco


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'Are You Rea #25' 1968


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
Are You Rea #25
Twenty-five gelatin silver prints
Various dimensions
Collection Jeffrey Leifer, San Francisco


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931–2006) 'Cybill Shepherd / Phone Sex' 1992


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931–2006)
Cybill Shepherd / Phone Sex
Silver dye bleach print on foamcore
63 x 17″ (160 x 43.2cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Courtesy of Petzel Gallery, New York


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade' 1969


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade
Offset lithography on bound paper
8 3/4 x 6 5/8″ (22.2 x 16.8cm)
The Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago



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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, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor 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.

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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