press release

The Yancey Richardson Gallery is pleased to present On View: Photographing the Museum, a group exhibition of photographs and video that explores the ways in which artists have engaged the museum as a subject, an inspiration and astudio. Running from July 7 through August 26, the exhibition will include the work of Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Candida Höfer, Diane Arbus, RichardMisrach, Tim Davis, Terry Evans, Jodie Vicenta Jacobson, Ken Josephson, Lisa Kereszi, Chad Kleitsch, Karen Knorr, David Hilliard, Andrew Moore, AbelardoMorrell, Matthew Pillsbury, Lynn Saville, Elliott Erwitt, and Doug Hall.

Struth has described his well-known museum pictures as being about "thecontemplation of art as a self-reflection." In his piece Galleria Accademia, Venice, Struth photographs the act of looking as evidenced by people in the museum andmirrored by we the viewers. At the same time he observes the relationship of the figures to each other and to the work of art they are contemplating. Alsoobserving the behavior of museum visitors, Elliot Erwitt humorously captures a crowd of men contemplating Goya's Naked Maja while a lone female visitorstudies the painting of the Clothed Maja hanging directly adjacent.

Several artists transform the museum space through their work. In her video,Montauk Point, Jodie Vicenta Jacobson amplifies her experience at the Dan Flavin Art Institute by transporting Polaroids of Flavin's sculptures outside andjuxtaposing them with the color and light of the surrounding natural environment. British photographer Karen Knorr has long made work about museums andcollecting. In Carnavalet IV she intervenes in the pristine decorative arts setting by inserting foxes as visitors to the space. Kenneth Josephson's 1970 collage,Postcard Visit, Buffalo integrates pieces of his own photograph of the Albright Knox Museum with a sliced up postcard view of the building, essentiallyreconstructing the museum.

The museum can be a transformational space as well. In Lisa Kereszi'sphotograph, Painter in Diorama, an American Museum of Natural History worker meticulously painting the illusionistic background of a diorama becomes part ofthe illusion himself, appearing to be a woodsman on display. Both Arbus and Sugimoto conflate life, sculpture and photography in their views made at waxmuseums. Sugimoto's Pope looks fully alive while Kereszi's live worker appears to be artificial. Chad Kleitch shows how the institutional setting of the museumcan empower mundane objects within it, particularly in this post-Duchampian age; thus, a pile of folded packing blankets take on the significance of sculpture.

Several artists have looked closely at the contents of museums. In Terry Evans'Specimens series and Matthew Pillsbury's Museums series, the artists investigate man's compulsion to gather, study and archive artifacts in order tounderstand the world and reconstruct a history. In Andrew Moore's Restoration Studio, Russia layers of time, culture and history are compressed into one room.

Tim Davis' recent series Permanent Collection investigates the viewingexperience and the way in which light and glare upon the surface of a painting obscure certain elements, thus changing the original meaning of the artwork.Richard Misrach also photographed museum paintings in order to show how certain religious and political views were promulgated through the art thatwestern museums chose to collect and display.

In several cases, art objects become animate through the process of beingphotographed. In Saville's nocturnal Rooftop, Metropolitan Museum a voluptuous sculpted nude by Gaston LaChaise appears to sing an aria for the moon. Inanother photograph by Elliott Erwitt, the Metropolitan Museum’s sculpture of Diana the Huntress appears to draw her bow in aim at a male figure in thedistance. In Inghirami, Gardner Museum, made while Abelardo Morrell was the artist-in-residence of the Isabel Gardner Museum, the figure looks searchingly atthe corner of the frame as if seeking escape.

Finally Candida Höfer's spectacular view of the Museo Correr Civico, in Venicelayers the experience of the space as a preserved cultural object itself with its role as a container for objects to be displayed and consumed


Photographing the Museum

mit Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Candida Höfer, Diane Arbus, Richard Misrach, Tim Davis, Terry Evans, Jodie Vicenta Jacobson, Ken Josephson, Lisa Kereszi, Chad Kleitsch, Karen Knorr, David Hilliard, Andrew Moore, AbelardoMorrell, Matthew Pillsbury, Lynn Saville, Elliott Erwitt, Doug Hall, u.a.