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"Moving Pictures: Work in Photography, Film, and Video"
2002-06-28 until 2003-01-12
Guggenheim Museum
New York, NY, USA

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Moving Pictures, an exhibition of approximately 150 works by 55 contemporary artists working in photography, film, and video. The exhibition focuses on the extensive use of reproducible mediums in the art of the last decade, proposing that this phenomenon has its roots in the late 1960s and 1970s, when artists incorporated photography and the moving image into their conceptually based practices. Moving Pictures includes major work by leading contemporary artists, such as Christian Boltanski, Rineke Dijkstra, Stan Douglas, Olafur Eliasson, Fischli/Weiss, Anna Gaskell, Andreas Gursky, Pierre Huyghe, William Kentridge, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Shirin Neshat, Gabriel Orozco, Cindy Sherman, Thomas Struth, Sam Taylor-Wood, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Kara Walker, as well as work by pioneers such as Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, and Robert Smithson, among others.

The exhibition fills the museum’s entire Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda, Thannhauser gallery 4, and Annex gallery 5. Moving Pictures is on view from June 28, 2002 to January 12, 2003.

This exhibition is sponsored by Delta Airlines. During the late 1960s and the 1970s, a significant paradigm shift occurred within postwar visual culture: photography and the moving image were absorbed into contemporary art practices. Artists turned to these mediums—which bridged such discrete categories as mass culture and high art, technology and culture—in order to contest the preciousness of the unique art object and to challenge traditional aesthetic categories. Additionally, the new, portable technology of video and its unique ability to employ instant playback allowed artists to examine issues of representation and image making to an unprecedented degree. Film as installation further expanded the conceptual and aesthetic parameters of the moving image. The use of photography and the moving image enabled artists to create works that privileged information or documentary evidence over personal expression, or conversely, called into question notions of objective recorded reality, underscoring the dominance of mass media and its skewed representations. Artists also employed new photographic strategies to record ephemeral or performative events, and to render visible conceptual systems. For many early feminist artists, these mediums represented yet-to-be-claimed territory, offering them new means with which to render experiential work. By the end of the 1970s, many artists turned to photography as a vehicle through which to critique photographic representation itself. While this practice came to define much of the art of the 1980s, its legacy for the 1990s was essentially the license to indulge in photographic fantasy, image construction, and cinematic narrative. Artists working today freely manipulate their representations of the empirical world or invent entirely new cosmologies. They process their subject matter through predetermined conceptual systems or use digital techniques to alter their images. Some directly intervene in the environment, subtly shifting components of the found world and establishing their quiet presence in it; others fabricate entire architectural environments for the camera lens.

Moving Pictures is drawn from the Guggenheim Museum’s permanent collection, which has been dramatically augmented during the last decade through alliances with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, as well as through major acquisitions and gifts, including the Panza Collection of Minimal and Conceptual art in the early 1990s, a gift from the Mapplethorpe Foundation in 1993, which launched the museum’s concentrated foray into photography, and most recently a gift from the Bohen Foundation collection in 2001. Also featured are purchases and gifts made by the Guggenheim’s acquisition groups, including the International Director’s Council, the Photography Committee, and the Young Collector’s Council. Many of the works presented in the exhibition are on view at the Guggenheim for the first time.

The exhibition begins on the rotunda floor with an important installation by Nam June Paik, one of the first artists to work with video. This installation is followed by an introductory section in the High Gallery and on the first ramp that examines unexpected ways in which contemporary artists have utilized reproducible mediums. This section includes a large environmental installation by Kara Walker of black paper silhouettes and projected layers of color as well as Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s photographic billboard of footprints in sand.

The next level of the rotunda is devoted to artists of 1970s—Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Ana Mendieta, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Smithson—whose work was deeply influential for many of the artists who emerged during the 1990s. Following a loose chronological order, the installation next includes work by artists whose careers began at the end of the 1970s. Many of these artists, including Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Fischli/Weiss, Ann Hamilton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annette Messager, and Cindy Sherman, utilize photography to explore issues of memory, voyeurism, and embodied experience. The next level features a group of photographs by artists who studied with conceptual photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher: Elger Esser, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Jörge Sasse, and Thomas Struth. Also included are photographs by Olafur Eliasson, Roni Horn, Gabriel Orozco, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose lyrical works derive from precise conceptual practices.

The next section focuses on the constructed image, featuring artists who create fictional worlds or replicate ours with trompe l’oeil exactitude: including, in the former category, Matthew Barney, Gregory Crewdson, Anna Gaskell, and Sam Taylor-Wood; and in the latter, Oliver Boberg, James Casebere, and Thomas Demand. Other key artists working with photo-based imagery, such as Vanessa Beecroft and Wolfgang Tillmans, are included here. The final section features projection-based and multi-monitor explorations of the moving image, with works by Patty Chang, Trisha Donnelly, Stan Douglas, Pierre Huyghe, William Kentridge, Steve McQueen, Shirin Neshat, John Pilson, and Gillian Wearing.


This exhibition was organized by Lisa Dennison, Chief Curator and Deputy Director, and Nancy Spector, Curator of Contemporary Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition was designed by Hani Rashid, a principal of Asymptote, and Associates in Science.


A fully-illustrated catalogue, featuring all the works in the exhibition as well as other key pieces from the Guggenheim’s contemporary collection, will be available in September 2002.

Left half, clockwise from top left: Gabriel Orozco, Ball on Water (Pelota en agua), 1994. Cibachrome print, 15 7/8 x 19 7/8 inches. AP 1/1. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 1998; Shirin Neshat, Passage, 2001. Video and sound installation. Edition 5/6. Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members, 2001; Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Climate, 2000. Three-channel video and sound installation. Edition 1/3. Partial and promised gift, The Bohen Foundation, 2001; Robert Smithson, Yucatan Mirror Displacements (1–9), 1969 (details). Nine chromogenic-development slides, dimensions vary with installation. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee and with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members, 1999; Kara Walker, Insurrection! (Our Tools Were Rudimentary, Yet We Pressed On), 2000 (detail). Cut paper silhouettes and light projections, site-specific dimensions. Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members, 2000; Sam Taylor-Wood, Soliloquy III, 1998. C-print, 83 1/16 x 101 3/16 inches. Edition 4/6. Partial and promised gift, David Teiger, 2000.

Right half, clockwise from top left: Andreas Gursky, Library, 1999. Cibachrome print, 79 x 142 inches. Edition 2/6. Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 1999; Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody and Robert Sherman, 1984. Gelatin-silver print, 25 5/8 x 22 inches. AP 1/1. Gift, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, 1993; Peter Fischli/David Weiss, Untitled (Flowers), 1997–98 (detail). Portfolio of 111 inkjet prints, 29 1/8 x 42 1/8 inches each. Edition 3/9. Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members, 1999; Ann Hamilton, untitled (aleph), 1992/1993 and untitled (linings), 1990/1993. Color-toned video and LCD screens, 00:30:00, 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches each. Edition 3/9. Gift, Ginny Williams Family Foundation, 1994; untitled (the capacity of absorption), 1988/1993 and untitled (dissections...they said it was an experiment), 1988/1993. Color-toned video and LCD screens, 00:30:00, 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches each. Edition 3/9. Gift, Peter Norton Family Foundation, 1994; Rineke Dijkstra, Coney Island, N.Y., USA, July 9, 1993. C-print, 62 5/8 x 50 1/2 inches. Edition 3/6. Purchased with funds contributed by the Harriet Ames Charitable Trust, 2000.

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