press release

"Gustav Metzger: Historic Photographs" is the first solo museum exhibition in the United States of the influential eighty-five-year-old artist and activist Gustav Metzger. For over fifty years, Metzger has worked across a variety of mediums to touch on issues of war, consumerism, and ecology. This exhibition presents the most complete presentation to date of the artist's series of sculptural installations titled "Historic Photographs." Begun in the mid-1990s, these works confront the viewer with some of the most powerful and tragic images of twentieth-century history, capturing events including the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, the horrors of the Vietnam War, the Oklahoma City bombing, and environmental destruction in contemporary England.

Metzger conceived of the "Historic Photographs" as a radical response to the desensitization towards images of death and destruction in society and the loss of historical memory. He reconfigures each of these iconic photographs by enlarging, obscuring, or hiding them from view using simple materials. Instead of a momentary glance, the "Historic Photographs" require an engagement with photography that is intimate, tactile, and prolonged. They create powerful physical experiences that transmit the emotional and intellectual weight of history. Instead of creating memorials to the past, Metzger's works are gestures of social activism with the express intention of rebuilding our understanding of and sensitivity towards historical trauma.

only in german

Gustav Metzger
Historic Photographs
Kuratoren: Massimiliano Gioni, Gary Carrion-Murayari