Posts Tagged ‘Robert Heinecken


Exhibition: ‘The Stillness of Things: Photographs from the Lane Collection’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Exhibition dates: 27th August, 2022 – 27th February, 2023


William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800-1877) 'Articles of China' before 1844


William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800-1877)
Articles of China
Before 1844
Salt print from a paper negative
The Lane Collection



The world is a reality,
not because of the way it is,
but because
of the possibilities it presents.

Frederick Sommer



A small but vibrant posting. Beautiful still life photographs my favourite being those by Mather, Sommer, Weston, Cunningham, Sudek and Morrell.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


This exhibition presents nearly 60 innovative photographs – all departures from the traditional still life – drawn from the MFA’s Lane Collection. Grouped thematically, the works on view span the entire history of photography, from its first introduction in England during the 1840s by William Henry Fox Talbot to the work of contemporary artists such as Adam Fuss, David Hilliard, Kenro Izu, Abelardo Morell, and Olivia Parker. Works by American modernists are prominently featured, with unexpected takes on the still life by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Sheeler, and Edward Weston – photographers better known for capturing vast landscapes and portraits of people.

One of the largest gifts in the MFA’s history, the Lane Collection was promised to the Museum in 2012. This exhibition is the latest in a series that has celebrated the single most important donation to the Museum’s photography holdings.

Text from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website



Margrethe Mather (American, 1886-1952) 'Water Lily' 1922


Margrethe Mather (American, 1886-1952)
Water Lily
Palladium print
The Lane Collection


Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965) 'Still Life' Early 1920s


Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965)
Still Life
Early 1920s
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection



Loosely organised by subject from messy desktops, kitchen utensils, and flora to empty chairs or found objects, the exhibit revels the mid-twentieth century strengths of the collection with works by modernists such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and especially Charles Sheeler. Sheeler pays homage to the painter Morandi with two still lifes featuring a simple ewer and ceramic vase and to Cezanne in a composition of apples. Often overlooked among the modernist masters are women such as Margaret Mather and Imogen Cunningham. Mather’s wispy pine needles and delicate water lily classically weave light, form and abstraction while Cunningham brings a geometric edge to the aloe plant she photographed on her window sill.

Suzanne Révy. “The Stillness of Things,” on the What Will You Remember website September 14, 2022 [Online] Cited 31/01/2023


Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976) 'Aloe Variagata' Early 1930's


Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976)
Aloe Variagata
Early 1930’s
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection


Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965) 'Cactus and Photographer's Lamp' 1931


Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965)
Cactus and Photographer’s Lamp
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Still Life, San Francisco' about 1932


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Still Life, San Francisco
about 1932
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
© The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust


Frederick Sommer (American, 1905-1999) 'Chicken Entrails' 1939


Frederick Sommer (American, 1905-1999)
Chicken Entrails
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection


Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958) 'Junk' 1939


Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection


Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976) 'The Unmade Bed' 1957


Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976)
The Unmade Bed
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
© 2022 Imogen Cunningham Trust


Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'From the Window of my Atelier' 1965


Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
From the Window of my Atelier
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
© I & G Fárová Heirs


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) 'TV Dinner' 1971


Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006)
TV Dinner
Gelatin silver print on canvas with pastel, chalk, and resin
The Lane Collection
© The Robert Heinecken Trust


Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) 'Gingko Leaves' 1990


Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009)
Gingko Leaves
Dye-transfer print
The Lane Collection


Abelardo Morell (Cuban, b. 1948) 'Wavy Book' 2001


Abelardo Morell (Cuban, b. 1948)
Wavy Book
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
© Abelardo Morell/Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, NYC


Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961) 'Butterfly' 2002


Adam Fuss (British, b. 1961)
From the series My Ghost
The Lane Collection
© Adam Fuss


David Hilliard (American, b. 1964) 'Perennial' 2006


David Hilliard (American, b. 1964)
Archival pigment print
The Lane Collection
Museum purchase with funds donated by Saundra B. Lane
© David Hilliard



Olivia Parker’s green and purple artichoke dangling from a string is a nod to the Spanish painter Juan Sánchez Cotán whose vegetable paintings depict foodstuffs hung high to keep rodents at bay. Her work is installed near two surrealist pictures by Frederick Sommer. His jarring but beautiful compositions of chicken heads and innards brim with the tension between the life sustaining nourishment the chicken may have provided and the stark reminder of our mortality. And in an ironic twist, David Hilliard’s ebullient polyptych, Perennial, features an aisle of plastic Walmart flowers that were his mother’s favorites, in striking contrast to the ephemeral flowers featured in countless still life paintings in the galleries of the museum.

Suzanne Révy. “The Stillness of Things,” on the What Will You Remember website September 14, 2022 [Online] Cited 31/01/2023


Olivia Parker (American, b. 1941) 'Artichoke' 2010


Olivia Parker (American, b. 1941)
Digital inkjet print
The Lane Collection
© Olivia Parker 2010



Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

Opening hours:
Monday and Tuesday 10am – 5pm
Wednesday – Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website


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

Exhibition dates: 19th September – 13th 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 1965-1975: 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.

Text from the Brian Taylor Photography website [Online] Cited 12/11/2022


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, 1934-2022)
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. No longer available online


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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Exhibition: ‘The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook’ at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 18th April 2012 – 29th April 2013


Josef Albers. 'Marli Heimann, Alle während 1 Stunde (Marli Heimann, All During an Hour)' 1931


Josef Albers (German, 1888-1976)
Marli Heimann, Alle während 1 Stunde (Marli Heimann, All During an Hour)
Twelve gelatin silver prints
Overall 11 11/16 x 16 7/16″ (29.7 x 41.8cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of The Josef Albers Foundation, Inc.
© 2012 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



Another fascinating exhibition and a bumper posting to boot (pardon the pun!)

A panoply of famous photographers along with a few I had never heard of before (such as Georges Hugnet) are represented in this posting. As the press blurb states, through “key photographic projects, experimental films, and photobooks, The Shaping of New Visions offers a critical reassessment of photography’s role in the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde movements, and in the development of contemporary artistic practices.”

The large exhibition seems to have a finger in every pie, wandering from the birth of the 20th-century modern metropolis, through “New Vision” photography in the 1920s, experimental film, Surrealism, Constructivism and New Objectivity, Dada, Rayographs, photographic avant-gardism, photocollages, photomontages, street photography of the  1960s, colour slide projection performance, through New Topographics, self-published books, and conceptual photography, featuring works that reevaluate the material and contextual definitions of photography. “The final gallery showcases major installations by a younger generation of artists whose works address photography’s role in the construction of contemporary history.”

Without actually going to New York to see the exhibition (I wish!!) – from a distance it does seem a lot of ground to cover within 5 galleries even if there are 250 works. You could say this is a “meta” exhibition, drawing together themes and experiments from different areas of photography with rather a long bow. Have a look at the The Shaping of New Visions exhibition checklist to see the full listing of what’s on show and you be the judge. There are some rare and beautiful images that’s for sure. From the photographs in this posting I would have to say the distorted “eyes” have it…

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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




László Moholy-Nagy (Hungarian, 1895-1946)
Ein Lichtspiel: schwarz weiss grau (A Lightplay: Black White Gray) (excerpt)



This short film made by László Moholy-Nagy is based on the shadow patterns created by his Light-Space Modulator, an early kinetic sculpture consisting of a variety of curved objects in a carefully choreographed cycle of movements. Created in 1930, the film was originally planned as the sixth and final part of a much longer work depicting the new space-time.



Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler
Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York
© Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive



In 1920 Paul Strand and artist Charles Sheeler collaborated on Manhatta, a short silent film that presents a day in the life of lower Manhattan. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s book Leaves of Grass, the film includes multiple segments that express the character of New York. The sequences display a similar approach to the still photography of both artists. Attracted by the cityscape and its visual design, Strand and Sheeler favored extreme camera angles to capture New York’s dynamic qualities. Although influenced by Romanticism in its view of the urban environment, Manhatta is considered the first American avant-garde film.



Dziga Vertov (Russian, 1896-1954)
Chelovek s kinoapparatom (Man with a Movie Camera)
1 hr 6 mins 49 secs



Excerpt from a camera operators diary
This film is an experiment in cinematic communication of real events
Without the help of Intertitles
Without the help of a story
Without the help of theatre
This experimental work aims at creating a truly international language of cinema based on its absolute separation from the language of theatre and literature


Eleanor Antin. '100 Boots' 1971-1973

Eleanor Antin. '100 Boots' 1971-1973

Eleanor Antin. '100 Boots' 1971-1973


Eleanor Antin (American, b. 1935)
100 Boots
Photographed by Philip Steinmetz
Halftone reproductions on 51 cards
4 1/2 x 7 in. each
Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
© Eleanor Antin


August Sander. 'Das rechte Auge meiner Tochter Sigrid (The Right Eye of My Daughter Sigrid)' 1928


August Sander (German, 1876-1964)
Das rechte Auge meiner Tochter Sigrid (The Right Eye of My Daughter Sigrid)
Gelatin silver print
7 1/16 x 9″ (17.9 x 22.9cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of the photographer
© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Dziga Vertov. 'Chelovek s kinoapparatom (Man with a Movie Camera)' (still) 1929


Dziga Vertov (Russian, 1896-1954)
Chelovek s kinoapparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) (still)
35mm film
65 min ( black and white, silent)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Department of Film


Man Ray. 'Rayograph' 1922


Man Ray (American, 1890-1976)
Gelatin silver print (photogram)
9 3/8 x 11 3/4″ (23.9 x 29.9cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of James Thrall Soby
© 2012 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


William Klein (American, born 1928) 'Gun, Gun, Gun, New York' 1955


William Klein (American, b. 1928)
Gun, Gun, Gun, New York 
Gelatin silver print
10 1/4 x 13 5/8″ (26 x 34.6 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Arthur and Marilyn Penn


Georges Hugnet (French, 1906-1974) 'Untitled [Surrealist beach collage]' c. 1935


Georges Hugnet (French, 1906-1974)
Untitled [Surrealist beach collage]
c. 1935
Collage of photogravure, lithograph, chromolithograph and gelatin silver prints on gelatin silver print
11 7/8 x 9 7/16″ (30.2 x 24cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Timothy Baum in memory of Harry H. Lunn, Jr.


Martha Rosler. 'Red Stripe Kitchen' 1967-1972


Martha Rosler (American, b. 1943)
Red Stripe Kitchen
From the series Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful 
Pigmented inkjet print, printed 2011
23 3/4 x 18 1/8″ (60.3 x 46cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Purchase and The Modern Women’s Fund



The Museum of Modern Art draws from its collection to present the exhibition The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook on view from April 18, 2012, to April 29, 2013. Filling the third-floor Edward Steichen Photography Galleries, this installation presents more than 250 works by approximately 90 artists, with a focus on new acquisitions and groundbreaking projects by Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Germaine Krull, Dziga Vertov, Gerhard Rühm, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Daido Moriyama, Robert Heinecken, Edward Ruscha, Martha Rosler, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Paul Graham, and The Atlas Group / Walid Raad. The exhibition is organised by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

Punctuated by key photographic projects, experimental films, and photobooks, The Shaping of New Visions offers a critical reassessment of photography’s role in the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde movements, and in the development of contemporary artistic practices. The shaping of what came to be known as “new vision” photography in the 1920s bore the obvious influence of “lens-based” and “time-based” works. The first gallery begins with photographs capturing the birth of the 20th-century modern metropolis by Berenice Abbott, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz, presented next to the avant-garde film Manhatta (1921), a collaboration between Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler.

The 1920s were a period of landmark constructions and scientific discoveries all related to light – from Thomas Edison’s development of incandescent light to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and light speed. Man Ray began experimenting with photograms (pictures made by exposing objects placed on photosensitive paper to light) – which he renamed “rayographs” after himself – in which light was both the subject and medium of his work. This exhibition presents Man Ray’s most exquisite rayographs, alongside his first short experimental film, Le Retour à la raison (Return to Reason, 1923), in which he extended the technique to moving images.

In 1925, two years after he joined the faculty of the Bauhaus school in Weimar Germany, László Moholy-Nagy published his influential book Malerei, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film) – part of a series that he coedited with Bauhaus director Walter Gropius – in which he asserted that photography and cinema are heralding a “culture of light” that has overtaken the most innovative aspects of painting. Moholy-Nagy extolled photography and, by extension, film as the quintessential medium of the future. Moholy-Nagy’s interest in the movement of objects and light through space led him to construct Light-Space Modulator, the subject of his only abstract film, Ein Lichtspiel: schwarz weiss grau (A Lightplay: Black White Gray, 1930), which is presented in the exhibition next to his own photographs and those of Florence Henri.

The rise of photographic avant-gardism from the 1920s to the 1940s is traced in the second gallery primarily through the work of European artists. A section on Constructivism and New Objectivity features works by Paul Citroën, Raoul Hausmann, Florence Henri, Germaine Krull, El Lissitzky, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and August Sander. A special focus on Aleksandr Rodchenko underscores his engagement with the illustrated press through collaborations with Vladimir Mayakovsky and Sergei Tretyakov on the covers and layouts of Novyi LEF, the Soviet avant-garde journal of the “Left Front of the Arts,” which popularised the idea of “factography,” or the manufacture of innovative aesthetic facts through photomechanical processes. Alongside Rodchenko, film director Dziga Vertov redefined the medium of still and motion-picture photography with the concept of kino-glaz (cine-eye), according to which the perfectible lens of the camera led to the creation of a novel perception of the world. The exhibition features the final clip of Vertov’s 1929 experimental film Chelovek s kinoapparatom (Man with a Movie Camera), in which the eye is superimposed on the camera lens to form an indivisible apparatus fit to view, process, and convey reality, all at once. This gallery also features a selection of Dada and Surrealist works, including rarely seen photographs, photocollages, and photomontages by Hans Bellmer, Claude Cahun, George Hugnet, André Kertész, Jan Lukas, and Grete Stern, alongside such avant-garde publications as Documents and Littérature.

The third gallery features artists exploring the social world of the postwar period. On view for the first time is a group of erotic and political typo-collages by Gerhard Rühm, a founder of the Wiener Gruppe (1959-1960), an informal group of Vienna-based writers and artists who engaged in radical visual dialogues between pictures and texts. The rebels of street photography – Robert Frank, William Klein, Daido Moriyama, and Garry Winogrand – are represented with a selection of works that refute the then prevailing rules of photography, offering instead elliptical, off-kilter styles that are as personal and controversial as are their unsparing views of postwar society. A highlight of this section is the pioneering slide show Projects: Helen Levitt in Color (1971-1974). Capturing the lively beat, humour, and drama of New York’s street theatre, Levitt’s slide projection is shown for the first time at MoMA since its original presentation at the Museum in 1974.

Photography’s tradition in the postwar period continues in the fourth gallery, which is divided into two sections. One section features “new topographic” works by Robert Adams, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Stephen Shore, and Joel Sternfeld, along with a selection of Edward Ruscha’s self-published books, in which the use of photography as mapmaking signals a conceptual thrust. This section introduces notable works from the 1970s by artists who embraced photography not just as a way of describing experience, but as a conceptual tool. Examples include Eleanor Antin’s 100 Boots (1971-1973), Mel Bochner’s Misunderstandings (A theory of photography) (1970), VALIE EXPORT’s Einkreisung (Encirclement) (1976), On Kawara’s I Got Up… (1977), and Gordon Matta-Clark’s Splitting (1974), all works that reevaluate the material and contextual definitions of photography. The other section features two major and highly experimental recent acquisitions: Martha Rosler’s political magnum opus Bringing the War Home (1967-72), developed in the context of her anti-war and feminist activism, for which the artist spliced together images of domestic bliss clipped from the pages of House Beautiful with grim pictures of the war in Vietnam taken from Life magazine; and Sigmar Polke’s early 1970s experiments with multiple exposures, reversed tonal values, and under-and-over exposures, which underscore the artist’s idea that “a negative is never finished.” The unmistakably cinematic turn that photography takes in the 1980s and early 1990s is represented with a selection of innovative works ranging from Robert Heinecken’s Recto/Verso (1988) to Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s breakthrough Hustler series (1990-92).

The final gallery showcases major installations by a younger generation of artists whose works address photography’s role in the construction of contemporary history. Tapping into forms of archival reconstitution, The Atlas Group / Walid Raad is represented with My Neck Is Thinner Than a Hair: Engines (1996-2004), an installation of 100 pictures of car-bomb blasts in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) that provokes questions about the factual nature of existing records, the traces of war, and the symptoms of trauma. A selection from Harrell Fletcher’s The American War (2005) brings together bootlegged photojournalistic pictures of the U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia, throwing into sharp focus photography’s role as a documentary and propagandistic medium in the shaping of historical memory. Jules Spinatsch’s Panorama: World Economic Forum, Davos (2003), made of thousands of still images and three surveillance video works, chronicles the preparations for the 2003 World Economic Forum, when the entire Davos valley was temporarily transformed into a high security zone. A selection of Paul Graham’s photographs from his major photobook project a shimmer of possibility (2007), consisting of filmic haikus about everyday life in today’s America, concludes the exhibition.

Press release from the MoMA website


On Kawara. 'I Got Up At...' 1974-75


On Kawara (Japanese, 1932-2014)
I Got Up At…
(Ninety postcards with printed rubber stamps)



The semi autobiographical I Got Up At… by On Kawara is a series of postcards sent to John Baldessari. Each card was sent from his location that morning detailing the time he got up. The time marked on each card varies drastically from day to day, the time stamped on each card is the time he left his bed as opposed to actually waking up. Kawara’s work often acts to document his existence in time, giving a material form to which is formally immaterial. The series has been repeated frequently sending the cards to a variety of friends and colleagues.


Philip-Lorca diCorcia. 'Marilyn; 28 Years Old; Las Vegas, Nevada; $30' 1990-92


Philip-Lorca diCorcia (American, b. 1951)
Marilyn; 28 Years Old; Las Vegas, Nevada; $30
Chromogenic colour print
24 x 35 15/16″ (61 x 91.4cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
E.T. Harmax Foundation Fund
© 2012 Philip-Lorca diCorcia, courtesy David Zwirner, New York


Helen Levitt. 'Projects: Helen Levitt in Color' 1971-74 (detail)

Helen Levitt. 'Projects: Helen Levitt in Color' 1971-74 (detail)


Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
Projects: Helen Levitt in Color (detail)
40 colour slides shown in continuous projection
Originally presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, September 26-October 20, 1974


Atlas Group, Walid Raad. 'My Neck is Thinner Than a Hair: Engines' 1996-2004 (detail)


Atlas Group, Walid Raad
My Neck is Thinner Than a Hair: Engines (detail)
100 pigmented inkjet prints
9 7/16 x 13 3/8″ (24 x 34cm) each
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Fund for the Twenty-First Century


Daido Moriyama. 'Entertainer on Stage, Shimizu' 1967


Daido Moriyama (Japanese, b. 1938)
Entertainer on Stage, Shimizu
Gelatin silver print
18 7/8 x 28″ (48.0 x 71.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of the photographer
© 2012 Daido Moriyama


VALIE EXPORT. 'Einkreisung (Encirclement)' 1976


VALIE EXPORT (Austrian, b. 1940)
Einkreisung (Encirclement)
From the series Körperkonfigurationen (Body Configurations)
Gelatin silver print with red ink
14 x 23 7/16″ (35.5 x 59.6cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Carl Jacobs Fund
© 2012 VALIE EXPORT / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VBK, Austria


Grete Stern. No. 1 from the series Sueños (Dreams) 1949


Grete Stern (German-Argentinian, 1904-1999)
No. 1 from the series Sueños (Dreams)
Gelatin silver print
10 1/2 x 9″ (26.6 x 22.9cm)
Latin American and Caribbean Fund through gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis in honor of Adriana Cisneros de Griffin
© 2012 Horacio Coppola


Sigmar Polke. 'Untitled (Mariette Althaus)' c. 1975


Sigmar Polke (German, 1941-2010)
Untitled (Mariette Althaus)
c. 1975
Gelatin silver print (red toned)
9 1/4 x 11 13/16″ (23.5 x 30cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of Edgar Wachenheim III and Ronald S. Lauder
© 2012 Estate of Sigmar Polke / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany


Martha Rosler. 'Hands Up / Makeup' 1967-1972


Martha Rosler (American, b. 1943)
Hands Up / Makeup
From the series Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful
Pigmented inkjet print, printed 2011
23 3/4 x 13 15/16″ (60.4 x 35.4cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Purchase and The Modern Women’s Fund
© 2012 Martha Rosler


Robert Heinecken. '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
© 2012 The Robert Heinecken Trust


Berenice Abbott. 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman' Negative c. 1930/Distortion c. 1950


Berenice Abbott (American, 1898-1991)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman
Negative c. 1930/Distortion c. 1950
Gelatin silver print
12 3/4 x 10 1/8″ (32.6 x 25.7cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Frances Keech Fund in honor of Monroe Wheeler
© 2012 Berenice Abbott/Commerce Graphics


Raoul Hausmann. 'Untitled' February 1931


Raoul Hausmann (Austrian, 1886-1971)
February 1931
Gelatin silver print
5 3/8 x 4 7/16″ (13.6 x 11.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Thomas Walther Collection Gift of Thomas Walther
© 2012 Raoul Hausmann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


Claude Cahun. 'Untitled' c. 1928


Claude Cahun (French, 1894-1954)
c. 1928
Gelatin silver print
4 9/16 x 3 1/2″ (10 x 7.6cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Purchase and anonymous promised gift
© 2012 Estate of Claude Cahun


Aleksandr Rodchenko. 'Sovetskoe foto (Soviet Photo)' No. 10 October 1927


Aleksandr Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Sovetskoe foto (Soviet Photo) No. 10
October 1927
10 3/8 x 7 1/4″ (26.3 x 18.4cm)
Publisher: Ogonek, Moscow
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Judith Rothschild Foundation



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Exhibition: ‘In Focus: Los Angeles, 1945-1980’ at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Exhibition dates: 20th December 2011 – 6th May 2012


Anthony Friedkin. 'Clockwork Malibu' 1978


Anthony Friedkin (American, b. 1949)
Clockwork Malibu
Gelatin silver print
11 15/16 x 18 5/16 in
Gift of Sue and Albert Dorskind
© Anthony Friedkin



While Anthony Friedkin has documented subjects as diverse as the marginalised gay community of San Francisco, convicts at Folsom Prison, and brothels in New York, it is the Southern California coastline that has remained a recurrent theme throughout his forty-five-year career. The Los Angeles native took up photography about the same time he learned to surf. His images of waves deftly communicate the primordial power and elusive mysteries that he ascribes to the ocean. This photograph of surfer Rick Dano on an early morning drive up the coast conveys a mood of quiet, anticipatory harmony.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty



I have never particularly liked Los Angeles as a city. There seems to be something unappealing about the place, some energy lurking just beneath the surface that you can’t quite put your finger on. Maybe it is the comparison with the vivacious San Francisco just up the coast, the awful public transport or, more spookily, the lack of people on the street. People never walk anywhere in LA, it’s a car town. When I did walk on the street I felt vulnerable and surveyed with suspicion by people in cars, like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

These photographs confirm this feeling. Unlike the visual acoustics of the architectural photographs of Julius Shulman (photographs that mythologised this urban metropolis and then exported that idealised presence and Californian mid-century design to the rest of the world) these photographs have an unbelievably desolatory nature to them. They seem to be joyless and sorrowful, devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope – as though the human and the city were separated, as if we are separated from a loved one.

The row after row of tinderbox houses, the ubiquitous cars, the sense of emptiness, hopelessness and menace (see Gary Winogrand Los Angeles 1964, below – if looks could kill this would be it, the bandaged broken nose just perfect for the photograph) all paint a picture of despair. Even the supposedly quiet, anticipatory harmony of the photograph of surfer Rick Dano by Anthony Friedkin (1978, below top) is, to me, full of unresolved tension. The mist in the background hanging over the rocks, blocking out the view, the filthy hands and the bandaged little finger of the right hand, the downcast eyes, the impossibly long cigarette handing from his lips and most importantly the empty distance between the figure and the safety of the automobile. The tension in that distance and the downcast eyes says nothing to me of harmony but of isolation, sadness and regret.

Los Angeles is not my favourite city but it is a fascinating place none the less, as these photographs do attest.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the J. Paul Getty Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Anthony Hernandez. 'Automotive Landscapes #5, Los Angeles' 1978


Anthony Hernandez (American, b. 1947)
Automotive Landscapes #5: Los Angeles
Gelatin silver print
11 3/4 x 17 1/8 in
Purchased in part with funds provided by the Photographs Council of the J. Paul Getty Museum
© Anthony Hernandez



Hernandez started photographing what he refers to as “automotive landscapes” in 1977, using a 35mm camera until he realised that a large-format camera loaded with 5 x 7-inch negative film would provide the detail he desired. Taken from a slightly elevated vantage point, Hernandez’s image of an immobilised truck and its lone mechanic in front of a repair shop presents a sobering view of Los Angeles’s car-dominant culture.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


Anthony Hernandez. 'Los Angeles #3' 1971


Anthony Hernandez (American, b. 1947)
Los Angeles #3
Gelatin silver print
7 3/4 x 11 13/16 in
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Purchased in part with funds provided by the Photographs Council
© Anthony Hernandez



Following two years of study at East Los Angeles College and two years of service in the U.S. Army, Anthony Hernandez took up photography in earnest around 1970. For this image, he preset his 35mm camera so that objects within a specific range would be in focus. Then, while walking the streets of downtown Los Angeles, he swung the camera to his eye for a fraction of a second to capture fellow pedestrians as well as the ambient mood of a city more typically experienced from the driver’s seat. A native of Los Angeles, Hernandez has continued to photograph the city, addressing issues of community, shelter, and survival in his work.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


Gary Winogrand. 'Los Angeles' 1964


Gary Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Los Angeles
Gelatin silver print
9 x 13 7/16 in
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
© 1984 The Estate of Gary Winogrand



This image of a couple seated in a parked convertible in front of a nightclub on Sunset Boulevard simultaneously captures the glamour and seediness associated with Hollywood. Evoking a 1940s or ’50s film noir crime drama, a seeming tough guy and femme fatale continue their heated conversation, apparently oblivious to the traffic around them – and to the photographer observing them. A native of New York City, Winogrand studied painting at Columbia University and photography at the New School for Social Research before doing freelance commercial work. He photographed incessantly, using a 35mm camera to create wide-angled or tilted shots that are densely composed and layered with meaning. More than 2,500 rolls of film remained undeveloped at the time of his death in 1984.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty



As part of the region-wide Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980 initiative, The J. Paul Getty Museum presents In Focus: Los Angeles, 1945-1980, an exhibition of photographs from the permanent collection made by artists whose time in Los Angeles inspired them to create memorable images of the city, on view at the Getty Center from December 20, 2011 – May 6, 2012.

This exhibition features both iconic and relatively unknown work by artists whose careers are defined by their association with Los Angeles, who may have lived in the city for a few influential years, or who might have visited only briefly,” said Virginia Heckert, curator, Department of Photographs, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and curator of the exhibition.

The photographs are loosely grouped around the themes of experimentation, street photography, architectural depictions, and the film and entertainment industry. Works featured in the exhibition are from artists such as Jo Ann Callis, Robert Cumming, Joe Deal, Judy Fiskin, Anthony Friedkin, Robert Heinecken, Anthony Hernandez, Man Ray, Edmund Teske, William Wegman, Garry Winogrand, and Max Yavno. Two of the works in the exhibition by Anthony Hernandez and Henry Wessel Jr. were acquired with funds from the Getty Museum Photographs Council. Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, including several recent acquisitions inspired by the Pacific Standard Time initiative, the exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to familiarise themselves with a broad range of approaches to the city of Los Angeles as a subject and to the photographic medium itself.

One of the most well-known works in the exhibition is Garry Winogrand’s photograph of two women walking towards the landmark theme building designed by Charles Luckman and William Pereira that has come to symbolise both Los Angeles International Airport and mid-century modern architecture in popular culture. Though a quintessential New Yorker, Winogrand made some of his most memorable photographs in Los Angeles, where he chose to settle in the final years of his life. Also included in the exhibition is Diane Arbus’ dreamily lit photograph of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park in Anaheim. Although technically not located in either the city or the county of Los Angeles, Disneyland – and Arbus’ photograph – continues to capture the notion of entertainment and fantasy that has come to be so intrinsically associated with the city.

Other photographers in the In Focus: Los Angeles exhibition who produced the majority of their most creative work in the city include Edmund Teske, with his experimentation in the darkroom and his complex double solarisation process; Robert Heinecken, with images that are equally complex but often incorporate existing printed materials, such as negatives; Anthony Hernandez, whose portraits of Angelenos on the street emphasise the isolation of the individual in an urban environment; and Anthony Friedkin, who combines his passions for surfing and the Southland beaches in his photographs. The inclusion of three photographs from Judy Fiskin’s earliest photographic series, Stucco (1973-1976), provided the impetus for a monographic presentation of the artist’s complete photographic work by Getty Publications. Entitled Some Aesthetic Decisions: The Photographs of Judy Fiskin and featuring an introductory essay by curator Virginia Heckert, the book will be published concurrently with this exhibition.

Press release from the J. Paul Getty Museum website


Grant Mudford (Australian, b. 1944) 'Los Angeles (US 257/10a)' negative, 1976; print, 1980


Grant Mudford (Australian, b. 1944)
Los Angeles (US 257/10a)
negative, 1976; print, 1980
Gelatin silver print
19 1/4 x 13 1/8 in
© Grant Mudford



After working for ten years as a commercial photographer, Sydney native Grant Mudford received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, enabling him to travel throughout the United States to pursue personal work. Mudford’s love of architecture – particularly the vernacular, often anonymous structures of urban America – is evident in the photographs he produced. His head-on depictions of the façades of simple commercial buildings are enlivened by signage, the play of light and shade, the placement of doors and windows, or, as in this image, the rich variety of textures.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


Joe Deal (American, 1947-2010) 'Backyard, Diamond Bar, California' 1980


Joe Deal (American, 1947-2010)
Backyard, Diamond Bar, California
Gelatin silver print
11 3/16 x 11 1/4 in
© Joe Deal



Joe Deal rose to prominence in the mid-1970s when work he made as a graduate student at the University of New Mexico was included in the exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape (1975). From 1976 to 1989, he taught photography at the University of California, Riverside, where he was instrumental in establishing a photography program and developing the university-affiliated California Museum of Photography. His photographs of Diamond Bar feature backyards of this primarily residential suburb located at the junction of the Pomona and Orange freeways in eastern Los Angeles County. Deal’s implementation of a slightly elevated perspective that eliminates the horizon line and provides a view into neighbouring yards effectively conveys the close quarters of life in a master-planned community.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


Anthony Friedkin. 'Film Can Library, Universal Studios' 1978


Anthony Friedkin (American, b. 1949)
Film Can Library, Universal Studios
Gelatin silver print
12 x 17 11/16 in
Gift of Sue and Albert Dorskind
© Anthony Friedkin



Anthony Friedkin began taking photographs at a young age and had already published his work by the time he was 16. He nonetheless found it important to study photography seriously and did so at Art Center College of Design and the University of California, Los Angeles. Employment as a still photographer for motion pictures beginning in 1975 undoubtedly prepared him to create a portfolio of images of Universal Studios a few years later. His depiction of row after row of film cans might be viewed as a historical document of a medium that has been replaced by new technology. Friedkin’s continued commitment to shooting black-and-white film that he develops and prints in his own darkroom has become increasingly rare.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


Darryl J. Curran. 'Cocktails with Heinecken' about 1974


Darryl J. Curran (American, b. 1935)
Cocktails with Heinecken
about 1974
Gelatin silver print
9 1/4 x 14 in
Gift of Darryl J. Curran
© Darryl J. Curran



After completing his undergraduate degree in design at the University of California, Los Angeles, Darryl Curran entered the school’s newly established photography program, studying with Robert Heinecken, who is positioned toward the center of this image in a black turtleneck. The repeated printing of two frames is typical of Curran’s approach to the photographic medium and the ease with which he employs techniques and strategies derived from his background in printmaking and design. Another form of “mirroring” occurs in the placement of a Heineken beer bottle opposite Heinecken the artist. Curran founded the Department of Photography at California State University, Fullerton, where he taught from 1967 to 2001.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


William A. Garnett. 'Finished Housing, Lakewood, California' 1950


William A. Garnett (American, 1916-2006)
Finished Housing, Lakewood, California
Gelatin silver print
7 3/8 x 9 7/16 in
© Estate of William A. Garnett



The reduced scale and regular spacing of shapes lend a toy-like quality to Garnett’s suite of prints depicting construction phases of tract housing in the Los Angeles County suburb of Lakewood. The deep shadows, overall patterning, and dramatic diagonals that slice through each composition introduce a sophisticated sense of design and abstraction. After studying photography at Art Center College of Design and military service during World War II, William Garnett learned to fly so that he could photograph his subjects from his Cessna 170-B airplane. Although he was hired by developers to document the construction of 17,500 affordable single-family residences in Lakewood, the majority of his aerial photographs depict the beauty of America’s landscape.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty


Henry Wessel Jr. 'Los Angeles' 1971


Henry Wessel Jr. (American, 1942-2018)
Los Angeles
Gelatin silver on Dupont Veragam paper print
7 15/16 x 11 7/8 in
Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council of the J. Paul Getty Museum
© Henry Wessel



Henry Wessel began taking photographs while majoring in psychology at Pennsylvania State University in the mid-1960s. Travel throughout the United States in subsequent years led him to direct his gaze increasingly to details of human interaction with the natural and man-made environment. Wessel’s move to the West Coast in the early 1970s inspired him to incorporate light and climate into his work. His inclusion in the seminal exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, organised in 1975 by the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, solidified his reputation as a keen observer of the American topography. In this image, electrical and telephone lines tether a row of modest residences to a single utility pole.

Text from Pacific Standard Time at the Getty



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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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