Sharon Lockhart, Outside AB Tool Crib: Matt, Mike,Carey, Steven, John, Mel and Karl, 2008. Chromogenic print, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 49-1/16 x 62-7/8”. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Larry Conklin, Welder, 2008. Chromogenic prints, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24 3/4 x 30 3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

Moving Film and Photo Images that Pull in the Unmoving Camera

Sharon Lockhart, Butch Greenleaf, Machinist, 2008. Chromogenic prints, Edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Butch Greenleaf, Machinist, 2008. Chromogenic prints, Edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Sharon Lockhart, Larry Conklin, Welder, 2008. Chromogenic prints, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist., 2008. Chromogenic prints, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Larry Conklin, Welder, 2008. Chromogenic prints, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Larry Conklin, Welder, 2008. Chromogenic prints, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

 

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Washington University
1 Brookings Drive
314-935-4523
St. Louis
Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break
February 5-April 19, 2010

Los Angeles-based conceptual artist Sharon Lockhart creates films and photographs that are at once rigorously formal and deeply humanistic, meticulously observing the details of everyday life while also probing the limits and intersections between the two mediums.

As much as Lockhart's photographs reveal cinematic qualities of staging and casting, so too do her films frequently engage a static camera and angles that recall photographic practices.

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum presents Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break, a one-person exhibition showcasing the artist's most recent series.

Inspired by the shifting world economy and its effect on American labor, Lockhart spent a year observing and engaging workers at the Bath Iron Works, a major shipyard and U.S. Navy supplier located in Bath, Maine.

The resulting works, collectively titled Lunch Break, include two large-scale film installations and three distinct sets of photographs that together explore the daily routines and social activities of workers during their time away from production.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the film Lunch Break, a single, slow-moving tracking shot down a long and seemingly endless interior corridor.

To create the piece, Lockhart recorded a ten-minute walk-through — her first use of a mobile camera — then employed digital technology to stretch the length to eighty minutes.

This extreme slow motion imbues ordinary lunchtime activities — eating, reading, talking and sleeping — with an almost baroque sense of anticipation. The film finally refuses cathartic narrative closure, resulting in a meditative reflection, devoid of sentiment, on factory life that typically remain hidden from outside view.

By contrast, the second film, Exit, is divided into five sections — one for each day of the workweek — and depicts workers as they depart the complex at the end of their shifts. Employing a static camera, the film recalls Louis Lumière's historic Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895), a 46-second black-and-white short that is widely considered to be the first true motion picture.

Yet Lockhart subtly reverses Lumière's viewpoint. Rather than surveil workers as they stream toward an exterior camera, she films from within factory grounds, focusing on workers' backs as they seemingly stage their own exits.

The first of the three series of photographs centers on workers' lunch boxes, emphasizing the ways in which stickers, labels, contents and other minute details suggest the personalities of their owners.

A second series is devoted to the independent businesses that exist within the factory — makeshift booths where workers sell hot dogs, coffee and other items to their colleagues. The third series consists of carefully composed images of workers lingering around lunch tables, at once recalling and revising historical traditions of group portraiture.

Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break is organized by Sabine Eckmann, Ph.D., director and chief curator of the Kemper Art Museum. The exhibition will travel to the Colby College Museum of Art in Maine.

Sharon Lockhart: Lunch Break is supported by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; James M. Kemper, Jr.; David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation; Missouri Arts Council; Helen Kornblum; and Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum members.

A fully illustrated color catalog will accompany the exhibition and will be distributed by the University of Chicago Press. The catalog includes essays by Eckmann and Matthias Michalka as well as an analysis of Lockhart's creative process through an interview with artist James Benning. Also featured will be previously unpublished photographs by Lockhart that document, illustrate and recall workers' social activities.

Born in Norwood, MA, in 1964, Lockhart earned a BFA degree from San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 and an MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1993. Her early work took frequent inspiration from 1970s art cinema. For the photo series Auditions (1994), Lockhart enlisted Los Angeles schoolchildren to restage the first-kiss scene from François Truffaut's Small Change (1976). Her debut film, the short, Khalil, Shaun, A Woman under the Influence (1994), reenacted moments from John Cassavetes' A Woman under the Influence (1974).

Subsequent projects have revealed an almost ethnographic interest in "foreign" cultures, often blurring distinctions between documentary and intervention. Goshogoaka (1997) depicts a girls' basketball team in rural Japan executing a series of highly choreographed drills. Teatro Amazonas (1999) focuses on an opera house audience in Manaus, Brazil, while an off-camera choir sings minimalist compositions. NO (2003) records the meticulous workday of Japanese farmers Yoko and Masa Ito. For Pine Flat (2006) Lockhart established a portrait studio amidst the Sierra Nevada Mountains and spent three years capturing images of local children as they play, rest, read and hang out.

Lockhart's films and photographs have been featured in major exhibitions and international film festivals, including the Whitney Biennial (2000 and 2004), the Carnegie International (2008) and the Sundance Film Festival (2006 and 2009). Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Tate Modern in London, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among many others.

Additional honors include grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the California Community Foundation and the LEF Foundation.

Lockhart is currently an associate professor of photography at the University of Southern California's Roski School of Fine Arts.

Sharon Lockhart, Butch Greenleaf, Machinist, 2008. Chromogenic prints, Edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 24-3/4 x 30-3/4” each. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Still from Lunch Break (Assembly Hall, Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine), 2008. 35mm film transferred to HD, edition of six, plus two artist’s proofs, 80 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

Sharon Lockhart, Audition Two, Darija and Daniel, 1994, Chromogener Druck, 124 x 152,5 cm (gerahmt), Auflage 4, Courtesy neugerriem schneider, Berlin, Gladstone Gallery, New York und Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

Sharon Lockhart's Research and Anthropological Interrogations

Sharon Lockhart, Pine Flat , 2005, Still aus einem16 mm Farbfilm, 137 Min. 41 Sek., copyright Sharon Lockhart, Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Gladstone Gallery, New York und Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

Sharon Lockhart, Untitled, 1996, Chromoger Druck, 81 x 109 cm (gerahmt), Auflage 6, Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Gladstone Gallery, New York und Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

Sharon Lockhart, Untitled, 2005, Chromogener Druck, gerahmt, 122 x 157 cm, Auflage 6, Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Gladstone Gallery, New York und Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

 

Kunstverein in Hamburg
Klosterwall 23
+ 040 33 83 44
Hamburg
Sharon Lockhart
April 12-June 15, 2008

Born in Norwood, Massachusetts in 1964 and currently living in Los Angeles, Sharon Lockhart generally prepares for her photographs and films with highly time- and labor-intensive research efforts. Her early works contain allusions to classic films and film-still-like photographs that point to her immediate environment, Hollywood.

One of her best-known works from this period, which is also on display in the Hamburg exhibition, is Audition (1994), a series of color photographs in which boys and girls reenact a scene from François Truffaut’s L’argent de poche (Small Change) from 1975.

The photographs, which look like film stills, create an irritating contradiction between the age of the performers and the scenes they are reenacting, a tension that is characteristic of Sharon Lockhart’s work, which often depicts children or young people in the transitional phase between childhood and adulthood.

The artist is interested not only in how cultural representation manifests itself in different stages of life, but also in how it does so in disparate geographical regions and contexts. Thus, for some of her projects, she spent several months in Japan and Brazil.

For her film Goshogaoka (1997), she conceived a precisely and thoroughly choreographed basketball practice session with Japanese girls in a suburb of Tokyo. Like all her films, it also involved the production of photographs, which — as independent series — possess a special quality that oscillates between transitory process and static, pictorial composition.

A keen interest in the relationship between the visual arts and film, between the artificial staging of reality and its ostensibly authentic, realistic reproduction is one of the constants in Sharon Lockhart’s work

In this sense, it is understandable that she would choose motifs for her works from the sculptures of Duane Hanson, which she deals with in a number of her photographic works, and which interest her in large part because of their simulation of reality. In addition, Lockhart insists on the importance of the specific context in which her works are received, presenting her films almost exclusively in movie theaters. It is only in recent years that she has begun to develop formats for presenting some of her moving images at exhibitions. The formats she chooses help to sensitive the viewer to the discrepancy between the two kinds of site – movie theaters and museums. For example, when Pine Flat (2005) is shown at exhibitions, two of the film’s twelve chapters are shown each day. Thus, a visitor who wishes to see the entire film has to visit the exhibition on six different days, as opposed to just once in the movie theater, where the entire film is shown with only a single, brief intermission.

Sharon Lockhart deliberately employs emotional effects that stand in a relationship of tension with the rational, conceptual orientation of her work. The atmospheres and situations in her photographs and films are characterized both by analytical distance as well as by subjective identification and empathy.

Her works have already been presented in large-scale solo exhibitions at museums like the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and Kunsthalle in Zurich, as well as at renowned international festivals in New York, Berlin, Vienna, and Rio de Janeiro. Kunstverein in Hamburg presents the most extensive exhibition of her photographic works to date and also shows her films NO (2003) und Pine Flat (2005) in its exhibition spaces.

Sharon Lockhart, Audition One, Simone and Max, 1994, Chromogener Druck, 124 x 152,5 cm (gerahmt), Auflage 4, Courtesy neugerriem schneider, Berlin, Gladstone Gallery, New York und Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.