Now You See It: Photography and Concealment Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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At the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Now You See It: Photography and Concealment

Through September 1, 2014

 

WasilevichTR.28.4.2008

Bill Wasilevich (American, active 1940s)
Jimmy “One Eye” Collins After Arraignment
1946
Gelatin silver print
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2008
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2008.125)

Installation Location: Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography, Second Floor, Gallery 851

Now You See It: Photography and Concealment, an installation of 25 works at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, focuses on the dynamic interplay between concealment and revelation in contemporary photography and video art. The featured works, all from the Museum’s Department of Photographs, range from a late 19th–century photograph by Pierre-Louis Pierson to a recently acquired work by Thomas Demand.

The installation presents works by artists who use the camera to reveal subjects or places ordinarily hidden from view, as well as works that explore broader themes of secrecy and obscured or partial vision. A highlight of Now You See It is Thomas Demand’s photographVault (2012). The image is based on a police photograph of a storeroom at the Wildenstein Institute in Paris, where 30 paintings and sculptures that had been missing for decades were discovered during a police raid in 2011. In Demand’s picture, as in the photograph on which it is based, the framed art works are turned to face the walls, remaining tantalizingly hidden from view. Other highlights include Vera Lutter’s haunting view of the seldom seen interior of the Pepsi Cola bottling plant in Queens, New York, Pepsi Cola Interior II: July 6-13 (2000), and Fazal Sheikh’s Desert Bloom (2011), a series of aerial photographs of the Negev desert. In Grace Nditru’s acclaimed video The Nightingale (2003), the artist explores the tradition of the veil and its complex associations of exposure and effacement. Accompanied by a recording of the Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, Ndiritu evokes a rapid-fire series of cultural references as she performs a hypnotic, Scheherazade-like series of gestures and movements with a piece of fabric, swiftly transforming it from turban to blindfold, and do-rag to noose to niqab. The tension between publicity and privacy, inherent in the field of photography, is explored in works by artists as diverse as Diane Arbus, Lutz Bacher, Jack Pierson, and Taryn Simon.

Grace Ndiritu (British, born 1976) The Nightingale 2003 Video Gift of the artist, 2009 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.375) © 2003 Grace Ndiritu, Courtesy Grace Ndiritu and LUX, London

Grace Ndiritu (British, born 1976)
The Nightingale
2003
Video
Gift of the artist, 2009
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.375)
© 2003 Grace Ndiritu, Courtesy Grace Ndiritu and LUX, London

The 20th-century photographs on view present the theme of concealment in a literal way and include Weegee’s Charles Sodokoff and Arthur Webber Use Their Top Hats to Hide Their Faces (January 27, 1942) and Helen Levitt’s Kids in a Box, on the Street, New York City (ca. 1942).

Now You See It: Photography and Concealment is organized by Mia Fineman, Associate Curator in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By | 2018-02-03T19:59:30+00:00 April 7th, 2014|Event, New York City / NYC, The Arts|Comments Off on Now You See It: Photography and Concealment Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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