Idris Khan, Homage to Bernd Becher, 2007, Bromide print, 49.8 x 39.7 cm, edition 1/6, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.132.

Paul Chan, 6th Light, 2007, Flash animation projection, silent, 14 min., edition 2/5, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director’s Council and Executive Committee Members: Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, Christina Baker, Edythe Broad, Janna Bullock, Rita Rovelli Caltagirone, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Harry David, Caryl Englander, Shirley Fiterman, Laurence Graff, Nicki Harris, Dakis Joannou, Rachel Lehmann, Linda Macklowe, Peter Norton, Tonino Perna, Simonetta Seragnoli, Cathie Shriro, Ginny Williams, and Elliot K. Wolk, and Sustaining Members: Linda Fischbach, Beatrice Habermann, and Cargill and Donna MacMillan 2007.31, Image courtesy Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, photo by Jean Vong.

Haunted by the Past, Contemporary Documentation and Reanimation

Anne Collier, Crying, 2005, Chromogenic print, 99.1 x 134 x 0.6 cm, edition 1/5, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron M. Tighe 2005.47.

Sally Mann, Virginia from the Mother Land series, 1992, Gelatin silver print, 76.2 x 96.5 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Bohen Foundation 2001.207.

James Casebere, Garage, 2003, Chromogenic print, face-mounted to acrylic, 181.6 x 223.5 cm, edition 2/5, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Anonymous gift, 2005.1.

Sophie Calle, Father Mother (The Graves, #17), 1990, Two gelatin silver prints in artist’s frames, 181.0 x 111.1 cm each, edition 2/2, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, The Bohen Foundation 2001.94.

Andy Warhol, Orange Disaster #5, 1963, Acrylic and silkscreen enamel on canvas, 269.2 x 207 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Harry N. Abrams Family Collection 74.2118.

Janaina Tschäpe, Lacrimacorpus, 2004, Color video projection with sound, 3 min., 36 sec., edition 4/4, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Manuel de Santaren 2005.6.

Adam McEwen, Untitled (Richard), 2007, Chromogenic print, 134 x 94 cm, A.P. 2/2, edition of 3, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Young Collectors Council 2007.34.

Adam Helms, Untitled Portrait (Santa Fe Trail), 2007, Double-sided screenprint on paper vellum, 101.3 x 65.7 cm, edition 2/2, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2007.131.

 

Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
212-423-3500
New York
Full Rotunda and all ramps
Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance
Part I: March 26-September 6, 2010
Part II: June 4-September 1, 2010

Much of contemporary photography and video seems haunted by the past, by the history of art, by apparitions that are reanimated in reproductive mediums, live performance, and the virtual world. By using dated, passé, or quasi-extinct stylistic devices, subject matter, and technologies, such art embodies a longing for an otherwise unrecuperable past.

Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance documents this obsession, examining myriad ways photographic imagery is incorporated into recent practice. Drawn largely from the Guggenheim’s extensive photography and video collections, Haunted features some 100 works by nearly 60 artists, including many recent acquisitions that will be on view at the museum for the first time. The exhibition is installed throughout the rotunda and its spiraling ramps, with two additional galleries on view from June 4 to September 1, featuring works by two pairs of artists to complete Haunted’s presentation.

Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/ Performance is organized by Jennifer Blessing, Curator of Photography, and Nat Trotman, Associate Curator.

This exhibition is made possible by the International Director’s Council of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Additional support is provided by grants from The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and the William Talbott Hillman Foundation. The Leadership Committee for Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video Performance is gratefully acknowledged.

The works in Haunted: Contemporary Photography / Video/Performance range from individual photographs and photographic series to sculptures and paintings that incorporate photographic elements; projected videos; films; performances; and site-specific installations, including a new sound work created by Susan Philipsz for the museum’s rotunda. While the show traces the extensive incorporation of photography into contemporary art since the 1960s, a large part of the exhibition is dedicated to work created since 2001 by younger artists.

Haunted is organized around a series of formal and conceptual threads that weave themselves through the artworks on view:

Appropriation and the Archive: In the early 1960s, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol began to incorporate photographic images into their paintings, establishing a new mode of visual production that relied not on the then-dominant tradition of gestural abstraction but rather on mechanical processes such as screenprinting. In so doing, they challenged the notion of art as the expression of a singular, heroic author, recasting their works as repositories for autobiographical, cultural, and historical information. This archival impulse revolutionized art production over the ensuing decades, paving the way for a conceptually driven use of photography as a means of absorbing the world at large into a new aesthetic realm. Since then, a number of artists, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sarah Charlesworth, Douglas Gordon, Luis Jacob, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Sara VanDerBeek, have pursued this archival impulse, amassing fragments of reality either by creating new photographs or by appropriating existing ones.

Landscape, Architecture, and the Passage of Time: Historically, one of photography’s primary functions has been to document sites where significant, often traumatic events have taken place. During the Civil War, which erupted not long after the medium was invented, a new generation of reporters sought to photograph battles, but due to the long exposure times required by early cameras, they could only capture the aftermath of the conflicts. These landscapes, strewn with the dead, now seem doubly arresting, for they capture past spaces where something has already occurred. Their state of anteriority, witnessed at such an early stage in the medium’s development, speaks to the very nature of a photograph, which possesses physical and chemical bonds to a past that disappears as soon as it is taken. As viewers, we are left with only traces from which we hope to reconstruct the absent occurrences in the fields, forests, homes, and offices depicted in the works in the exhibition. With this condition in mind, many artists, among them James Casebere, Spencer Finch, Ori Gersht, Roni Horn, Luisa Lambri, An-My Lê, Sally Mann, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, have turned to empty spaces in landscape and architecture, creating poetic reflections on time’s inexorable passing and insisting on the importance of remembrance and memorialization.

Documentation and Reiteration: Since the early 1970s, photographic documentation, including film and video, has served as an important complement to the art of live performance, often setting conditions by which performances are staged and sometimes obviating the need for a live audience. Through an ironic reversal, artworks that revolved around singular moments in time have often come to rely on the permanence of images to transmit their meaning and sometimes even the very fact of their existence. For many artists, these documents take on the function of relics — objects whose meaning is bound to an experience that is lost in the past. Works by artists such as Marina Abramovi?, Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Tacita Dean, Joan Jonas, Christian Marclay, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ana Mendieta, and Gina Pane examine various aesthetic approaches inspired by the reiterative power of the photograph. Using photography not only to restage their own (and others’) performances but to revisit the bodily experience of past events, these artists have reconsidered the document itself as an object embedded in time, closely attending to its material specificity in their works.

Trauma and the Uncanny: When Andy Warhol created his silkscreen paintings of Marilyn Monroe in the wake of her death, he touched on the darker side of a burgeoning media culture that, during the Vietnam War, became an integral part of everyday life. Today, with vastly expanded channels for the propagation of images, events as varied as the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the deaths of celebrities such as Princess Diana and Michael Jackson have the ability to become traumatic on a global scale. Many artists, including Adam Helms, Nate Lowman, Adam McEwen, Cady Noland, and Anri Sala, have reexamined the strategy of image appropriation Warhol pioneered, attending closely to the ways political conflict can take on global significance. At the same time, photography has altered, or as some theorists argue, completely reconfigured our sense of personal memory. From birth to death, all aspects of our lives are reconstituted as images alongside our own experience of them. This repetition, which is mirrored in the very technology of the photographic medium, effectively produces an alternate reality in representation that, especially when coping with traumatic events, can take on the force of the uncanny. Artists such as Stan Douglas, Anthony Goicolea, Sarah Anne Johnson, Jeff Wall, and Gillian Wearing exploit this effect, constructing fictional scenarios in which the pains and pleasures of personal experience return with eerie and foreboding qualities.

Additional Galleries
Open June 4-September 1

Extending beyond the rotunda and ramps, the Haunted presentation will include the Guggenheim’s fifth and seventh level Tower annex galleries with additional works by Thomas Demand, Stan Douglas, Christian Marclay, and Jeff Wall on view. In conjunction with this second part of the exhibition, the Guggenheim will also present three performances during June and July by Sharon Hayes, Joan Jonas, and Tris Vonna-Michell.

Following the presentation of Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/ Performance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain, where it will be on view from November 2010 through March 2011.

An illustrated, 208-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition and features essays by Jennifer Blessing and Nat Trotman as well as by Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Peggy Phelan, Ann O’Day Maples Professor in the Arts and Professor in Drama and English, Stanford University; and Lisa Saltzman, Professor of History of Art and Director of the Center for Visual Culture, Bryn Mawr College. The catalogue also includes color plates of additional works that will be shown during the installation of Haunted at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Priced at $50 and offered in a hardcover edition, the catalogue may be purchased at the Guggenheim Store or at the Online Store at guggenheimstore.org beginning in late March.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Silueta Series), 1979, Chromogenic print, 25.4 x 17.1 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 98.5237.

Zhang Huan, 12 Square Meters, 1994, Chromogenic print, 149.9 x 99.7 cm, A.P. 3/5, edition of 15, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Manuel de Santaren and Jennifer and David Stockman 2007.24.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, 1963, Oil, silkscreen ink, metal, and plastic on canvas, 208.3 x 121.9 x15.9 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Elaine and Werner Dannheisser and The Dannheisser Foundation 82.2912, © Estate of Robert Rauschenberg/ Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I, 1969, Chromogenic print, 101 x 55.6 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee 2009.31.

Tacita Dean, Merce Cunningham performs STILLNESS (in three movements) to John Cage’s composition 4’33” with Trevor Carlson, New York City, 28 April 2007 (six performances; six films), 2008, Six 16mm color films, installation, with sound, 4 min., 33 sec. each, edition 2/4, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director’s Council and Executive Committee Members: Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, Christina Baker, Janna Bullock, Rita Rovelli Caltagirone, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Harry David, Caryl Englander, Shirley Fiterman, Laurence Graff, Nicki Harris, Dakis Joannou, Rachel Lehmann, Linda Macklowe, Peter Norton, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Tonino Perna, Inga Rubenstein, Simonetta Seragnoli, Cathie Shriro, Ginny Williams, and Elliot Wolk, and Sustaining Members: Linda Fischbach, Beatrice Habermann, and Cargill and Donna MacMillan 2008.48, Installation view: Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York, May 17–September 1, 2008, Image © Dia Art Foundation, photo by Ken Goebel.

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Water Towers, 1980, Nine gelatin silver prints, 155.6 x 125.1 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Jonas 81.2793.