September 4, 2009 — A special exhibition at the University of Virginia Art Museum, "Abstract Photography," featuring seminal works by seven contemporary artists, demonstrates the plurality of photography over the last 30 years.
Among the works featured are "Wounded" (1970) and "Index" (1973), early works by William Wegman in which the artist examines the way images affect perception.
Also included is "How Many Pictures" (1989), Louise Lawler's critique on the institutions of art and the politics of presentation. Critic/curator Douglas Crimp, writing about the 1977 "Pictures" exhibition of his own work, described such works by Lawler and others as more concerned with theatricality and temporality and less with pure representation.
Enigmatic trees by John Graham and Jim Hodges address techniques of image-making, as do works by Brazilian artist Vik Muñiz. Wolfgang Tillmans' "Himmelblau" (2005) and "Paper Drop" series (2006) further develop the syntactic investigations of these earlier images in works that, through their apparent simplicity and chromatic brilliance, concern themselves with what is known and what is intangible.
Works featured in "Abstract Photography" come from the collection of contemporary European and American photographs owned by Glenstone of Potomac, Md.
"With this exhibition, the U.Va. Art Museum and Glenstone embark on a partnership that builds on the combined strength of our respective institutions and collections to foster an intellectual exchange and advance the field of contemporary visual culture," U.Va. Art Museum director Bruce Boucher said.
Museum curator Andrea Douglas added, "The alliance provides academic opportunities for emerging scholars at the University and invites rigorous intellectual conversations across disciplines about Glenstone's premier art/visual collection."
The museum will offer special lectures on Oct. 3 with William Wylie, associate professor of art and adjunct curator; Oct. 31 with Melissa Ragain, Luzak-Lindner research fellow at U.Va. and museum curatorial assistant; and Dec. 5 with Howard Singerman, associate professor of art history. Attendance at these talks, held from 2 to 3 p.m. each day, is by reservation only; to ensure a place, call 434-243-2050. For additional information about speakers, see the museum's Web site.
The museum will also offer a lunchtime talk by Ragain on Dec. 8.
The exhibition is made possible with the support of the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts and the Volunteer Board of the University of Virginia Art Museum.