NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture,” an exhibition that examines the complex interactions among spectators, images, buildings, and time through architectural photography in America and Europe from the 1930s to the present, on display July 20-Oct. 28 in the Upper-Level Galleries at the Frist Art Museum.
“Image Building,” organized by guest curator Therese Lichtenstein, PhD, features 57 photographs by 21 artists and commercial photographers like Samuel H. Gottscho, Berenice Abbott, Julius Shulman, Iwan Baan, Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Luigi Ghirri, and Stephen Shore that explore the social, psychological, and conceptual implications of architecture through the subjective interpretation of those who portrayed it in both film and digital media.
Organized thematically into Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, the exhibition examines the relationship between contemporary and historical approaches to photographing buildings in urban, suburban, and rural environments, looking at influences, similarities and differences. By juxtaposing these photographs, Image Building creates a dialogue between the past and present, revealing the ways photography shapes and frames the perception of architecture, and how that perception is transformed over time.
In Cityscapes, the essence of New York City is explored by Berenice Abbott and Iwan Baan in two photographs separated by nearly 80 years. Shot from the vantage point of the Empire State Building, Abbott’s The Night View (1934) is a modernist depiction of a thriving metropolis packed with skyscrapers and shimmering lights. Contrasting with this message of power and confidence, Iwan Baan’s The City and the Storm (2012) portrays a vulnerable New York after electrical outages and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The second section, Domestic Spaces includes photographs of buildings meant for the practical use of individuals and families. People are rarely included in the shots, however, to show formalist sculpture – meant to be seen but not touched. In Julius Schulman’s photographs of show-homes of the post-World War II era, this human absence tells of the lower and middle classes who did not benefit from the economic recovery of the 1950s and beyond.
In Public Places, create digital photographs to interpret buildings and sites meant for public use, as they can signify communal aspirations and cultural identity.
Photographers Represented in the Exhibition
Berenice Abbott (American, 1898–1991), Robert Adams (American, born 1937), Iwan Baan (Dutch, born 1975), Lewis Baltz (American, 1945–2014), Bernd Becher (German 1931–2007), Hilla Becher (German, 1934–2015), Hélène Binet (Swiss-French, born 1959), James Casebere (American, born 1953), Thomas Demand (German, born 1964), Luigi Ghirri (Italian, 1943–1992), Samuel H. Gottscho (American, 1875–1971), Andreas Gursky (German, born 1955), Candida Höfer (German, born 1944), Balthazar Korab (Hungarian, 1926–2013), Thomas Ruff (German, born 1958), Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937), Stephen Shore (American, born 1947), Julius Shulman (American, 1910–2009), Ezra Stoller (American, 1915–2004), Thomas Struth (German, born 1954), and Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, born 1948).
About the Curator
Dr. Therese Lichtenstein organized “Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris” for the Frist and is the author of “Twilight Visions: Surrealism and Paris (2009).” She is the curator and author of “Behind Closed Doors: The Art of Hans Bellmer” (awarded Best Photography Exhibition of 2001 by the International Association of Art Critics) and “Andromeda Hotel: The Art of Joseph Cornell (2006).” Dr. Lichtenstein, who received her PhD in art history from The Graduate Center, CUNY, has written articles and reviews for Art in America, Artforum, and Arts Magazine. She taught at Rice University, Mt. Holyoke College, New York University, and the International Center of Photography; and currently teaches art history at the Ross School in East Hampton, New York.
“Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture” is accompanied by a 160-page fullyillustrated color catalogue by Therese Lichtenstein, with a foreword and acknowledgments by Parrish Art Museum Director Terrie Sultan and an essay by Marvin Heiferman. Published by DelMonico Books in association with the Parrish Art Museum, it is distributed by DelMonico Books • Prestel.
Organized by the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
“Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture” is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Century Arts Foundation, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Fund for Publications, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Joseph M. Cohen, Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder, and Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership. Public Funding is provided by Suffolk County.
Ellen Jones Pryor
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