Burlington City Arts

JANUARY 21, 2015

Major Contemporary Exhibition from Pictures Generation Artists Opens in January at The BCA Center

Burlington, VT: Burlington City Arts is pleased to announce the new exhibition, Taking Pictures, opening Friday, January 30th on the First and Second Floors of The BCA Center on Church Street, with a reception from 5:00-8:00pm. Taking Pictures features work in various mediums by Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, James Casebere, Sarah Charlesworth, Nancy Dwyer, Jack Goldstein, Louise Lawler, Robert Longo, Allan McCollum, Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons. This exhibition runs through April 4th, 2015. 

Using appropriation techniques and the process of picture making as points of departure, Taking Pictures examines the relevance of the work created by a group of artists included in the Pictures Generation. Presenting seminal work from the late 1970s alongside artwork made in the past few years, the exhibition is an opportunity to reinterpret these artists’ early work through the lens of their more recent production.
In addition to acknowledging the contemporary pervasiveness of appropriation, the exhibition title calls attention to the significant technological developments since the early 1970s that have made such a dramatic impact on the ways in which images are shared, archived, and re-purposed. The Internet and social media have opened entirely different networks for the dissemination and consumption of images; in their recent work, the artists of the Pictures Generation have turned their critical attention to these networks.
The exhibition is presented in partnership with the University of Vermont’s Department of Art and Art History and the Mollie Ruprecht Fund for Visiting Artists and Scholars. 
The exhibition is organized by DJ Hellerman, Curator and Director of Exhibitions; Ashley Jimenez, Assistant Curator; and Anthony Grudin, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Vermont.


Gretchen Bender

Gretchen Bender (American 1951-2004) worked in several mediums of photography and film. Bender’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Pompidou Center in Paris.  Bender combined aspects of Conceptual Art and Pop Art and used images of popular culture to dissect its powerful codes, especially regarding gender and sexuality. Born in Seaford, Delaware, Bender earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina in 1973. She moved to New York City in 1978 and had her first Manhattan gallery show in 1983. Her early work was a combination of varied images from abstract art, advertising and photography. Bender's work outside the mainstream art world included directing music videos for such acts as Babes in Toyland and Martha Wash and editing music videos for R.E.M., New Order and Megadeath. She engaged in set design for choreographers.

Dara Birnbaum
(b. 1946, New York. Lives and works in New York.)  

Dara Birnbaum's provocative video works are among the most influential and innovative contributions to the contemporary discourse on art and television.
In her videotapes and multi-media installations, Birnbaum applies both low-end and high-end video technology to subvert, critique or deconstruct the power of mass media images and gestures to define mythologies of culture, history and memory. Through a dynamic televisual language of images, music and text, she exposes the media's embedded ideological meanings and posits video as a means of giving voice to the individual. Her pioneering multi-channel video installation, “PM Magazine,” is currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Her work also has been exhibited at major institutions, such as: the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; Tate Modern, London; Fundacão De Serralves, Porto; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Kunsthalle, Vienna; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the UCCA, Beijing; amongst a vast number of others. She has been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, among others the TV Picture Prize, International Festival of Video and Electronic Arts in Locarno, Switzerland; Certificate in Recognition of Service and Contribution to the Arts, Harvard University; and the American Film Institute's Maya Deren Award for Independent Film and Video Artists.

James Casebere

James Casebere was born in 1953, in East Lansing, Michigan. He attended Michigan State University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, from which he graduated in 1976 with a BFA. In the fall of 1977, he attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York and received an MFA from Cal Arts in 1979.

Casebere's pioneering work has established him at the forefront of artists working with constructed photography. For the last thirty years, Casebere has devised increasingly complex models that are subsequently photographed in his studio. Based on architectural, art historical and cinematic sources, his table-sized constructions are made of simple materials, pared down to essential forms. Casebere's abandoned spaces are hauntingly evocative and oftentimes suggestive of prior events, encouraging the viewer to reconstitute a narrative or symbolic reading of his work.

Casebere has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including three from the National Endowment for the Arts, three from the New York Foundation for the Arts and one from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His work is collected by museums worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; the Los Angeles County Museum; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, among many others. James Casebere lives and works in New York.

Sarah Charlesworth

Sarah Charlesworth (American 1947-2013) was a visual artist and photographer who has exhibited widely in the US and abroad. With over 40 individual exhibitions, a traveling museum retrospective (organized by SITE, Santa Fe) and presence in many major museum shows and collections, Charlesworth is one of the seminal figures whose work has been instrumental in bridging the gap between fine art and a critical practice of photography. Charlesworth’s photo-based artwork explores the language of photography in contemporary culture and the ways in which it orders values and perceptions. She has taught photography for several years in the graduate programs at both the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and the School of Visual Arts in New York. Charlesworth’s work appears in numerous museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MOCA, Los Angeles and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, amongst many others. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants and a Guggenheim fellowship.

Nancy Dwyer

Nancy Dwyer (American, b. 1954) has been exhibiting worldwide for over twenty years, best known for her witty word sculptures, paintings and multimedia installations. As well as numerous solo exhibits, Dwyer has shown work at major museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, MOCA Los Angeles, the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, Texas, the Kunsthalle Wein, Austria, The Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC. Her public art commissions are installed in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and many other places. Dwyer lives and works in Burlington, Vermont. 

Jack Goldstein
b. September 27, 1945 Montreal, Canada, Died: March 14, 2003

Jack Goldstein was one of the most important artists of the 80's in New York. He returned to California in the 90's and slowly disappeared from the art world until renewed interest in his work began to happen in 2000. He was one of the first graduates of CalArts and went on to experiment with performance, film, recording and painting. This exciting early work of the late seventies, eighties and early nineties influenced many artists who came after him. Jack moved from California to New York in the early 70's and was shown in New York at Metro Pictures and John Weber Gallery as well as in numerous other galleries and museums in the United States and Europe.
Jack Goldstein was a multimedia artist best known for his involvement with the Pictures Generation, and is considered a pioneer of sound art. One of his central interests was the notion of individualism in a media-saturated society. Over the course of his career, Goldstein worked with sculpture, performance, painting, and written text, but his most famous works were films. He worked with appropriated footage, which he would manipulate to highlight certain rhythms or details. Perhaps his most iconic work was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1975), which featured MGM’s mascot roaring on loop. Over time, Goldstein’s techniques increasingly eradicated evidence of the artist’s own hand in the spirit of mass production. He began hiring people to paint his paintings, and others to produce his films and sound.

Louise Lawler

Louise Lawler was born in 1947 in Bronxville, New York. She graduated from Cornell University in 1969. Lawler developed her individual style during the early 1980s, a time of intense growth in the overall economy and in the art market. Within this environment material goods were seen as a demonstration of power and financial wealth and artworks became associated with the possession of cultural capital. Lawler began creating mostly photographic works that include images of artworks by other artists as they were displayed within collector’s homes or even within artistic institutions. In this sense, her images become an exploration of the social, economic and environmental factors that shape the definition of the work of art within our culture. By depicting other artist’s works of art within her own, Lawler's images pose an interesting challenge to traditional ideas of originality, authorship, and the influence of context in the meaning of a work of art and of the market in its commercialization. 

Louise Lawler has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been held in institutions such as the Wexner Center in Ohio in 2006, Dia Beacon in Beacon New York in 2005, and the Museum for Gugenwartskunst, Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland in 2004. She has also participated in exhibitions in major institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Museum of Art in Oslo, and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Lawler has participated in two Whitney Biennials, and her work has been featured in multiple publications. Louise Lawler lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Robert Longo

For more than 30 years Robert Longo has been a prominent figure in New York’s cultural scene. His artworks, performance pieces, music performances, films and videos invent, cull, and recycle iconographic images from an expansive cultural visual cache to comment on ideas surrounding image potency, production and circulation. He was among the five artists included in the seminal 1977 Artists Space exhibition “Pictures” and is a key figure of the subsequently named Pictures Generation. Longo has had one-person exhibitions at the Musée d‘art moderne et d‘art contemporain, Nice; Krefelder Kunstmuseum, Krefeld, Germany; the Albertina, Vienna; Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo; the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Menil Collection in Houston. Robert Longo has participated in Documenta, the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale.

Robert Longo is represented by Metro Pictures in New York City, Galerie Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris, France. He is a co-founder and member of the band X PATSYS (with Barbara Sukowa, Jon Kessler, Anthony Coleman, Jonathan Kane, Knox Chandler and Ernest Brooks).

Robert Longo lives with his wife, Barbara Sukowa, and their three sons in New York.

Allan McCollum

American sculptor McCollum has stated that formative influence in his work included the Fluxus movement of the 1960s and the work of conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren. In 1975 he moved to New York. Departing from the notion of a work of art as a rare object of unique value, he introduced a procedure of studio manufacture of precast models made in unlimited editions. The series of Perfect Vehicles (exh. New York, Cash–Newhouse Gal., 1986) resembled large vessels, sealed and painted in Moorglo on concrete. Over 10,000 Individual Works (exh. New York, John Weber Gal., 1987) comprised precise rows of miniature units molded from found objects, painted in enamel on solid-cast Hydrocal (fiberglass and concrete). McCollum scrupulously avoided aspects of ironical parody typical of Pop art. His works were not presented as decorative accessories or social commentary but as physical signs of the mechanical drives of existence—of repetitious behavior and patterns of market-based relationships.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954) is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art. Throughout her career, she has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has captured herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. To create her photographs, she assumes multiple roles of photographer, model, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman has deftly altered her physique and surroundings to create a myriad of intriguing tableaus and characters, from screen siren to clown to aging socialite.

Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons (American, b. 1949) received a BFA from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (1971). Simmons stages photographs and films with paper dolls, finger puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and costumed dancers as “living objects,” animating a dollhouse world suffused with nostalgia and colored by an adult’s memories, longings, and regrets. Simmons’s work blends psychological, political, and conceptual approaches to art making—transforming photography’s propensity to objectify people, especially women, into a sustained critique of the medium. Mining childhood memories and media constructions of gender roles, her photographs are charged with an eerie, dreamlike quality. On first glance, her works often appear whimsical, but there is a disquieting aspect to Simmons’s child’s play, as her characters struggle over identity in an environment in which the value placed on consumption, designer objects, and domestic space is inflated to absurd proportions. Simmons’s first film, "The Music of Regret" (2006), extends her photographic practice to performance, incorporating musicians, professional puppeteers, Alvin Ailey dancers, Hollywood cinematographer Ed Lachman, and actress Meryl Streep. She has received many awards, including the Roy Lichtenstein Residency in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Rome (2005); and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1997) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1984). She has had major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006); Baltimore Museum of Art (1997); San Jose Museum of Art, California (1990); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1987); and she has participated in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions (1985, 1991). Simmons lives and works in New York.
Taking Pictures is sponsored by Seven Days and the Todd R. Lockwood Family Fund and funded in part by a grant from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition year is funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Contemporary exhibitions are an important part of Burlington City Arts, celebrating over 30 years of supporting the arts, which is dedicated to the promotion of excellence, experimentation, and education in all forms of contemporary art. For more information about gallery exhibitions, special events, classes and workshops, please call 802.865.7166 or visit BURLINGTONCITYARTS.ORG.