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September 29, 2004

Up Close and Annotated: Art Institute Preview

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

October 2, 2004–January 2, 2005

(travels to Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Urbana-Champaign, IL (Krannert Art Museum?); Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN)

Art Sinsabaugh (1924–1983) is an artist ripe for rediscovery. One of several important photographers to emerge from Chicago’s renowned Institute of Design, Sinsabaugh trained under Harry Callahan and taught alongside Aaron Siskind. He made his artistic breakthrough in the early 1960s with a giant 12-x -20-inch "banquet" camera that allowed him to marry a 19th-century vision with mid-20th-century formalism. He was a landscape photographer in the broadest sense: he photographed the spaces—both rural and urban—that we inhabit. Sinsabaugh’s remarkable photographs capture a richly nuanced sense of place and the ever-changing face of the American environment. This retrospective, organized by the Indiana University Art Museum, represents the first complete survey of the artist’s career ever assembled. Kicking off its midwest tour at the Art Institute, it includes more than 85 photographs, with the majority drawn from the Art Sinsabaugh Archive at Indiana University. Noted photography historian Keith F. Davis, the exhibition’s guest curator, has written the long-awaited monograph on the artist, which will be published by Hudson Hills Press.

More, from the Indiana University press release:

Sinsabaugh realized that his landscapes were more than pretty "panoramas." They reflected his slowly developing pattern of social awareness. Shooting during a period of dramatic economic shifts, he was particularly drawn to urban and rural environments in transition—"before something was to go up or as something was coming down."
Sinsabaugh's cool, clear aesthetic has been described as a mixture of the great expansive vision of 19th-century landscape photographers with mid-20th century formalism. Like Eugène Atget's views of Paris, Sinsabaugh's photographs possess a remarkable quality of timeless beauty, while at the same time documenting a particular moment. His straightforward, detached viewpoint and inclusion of ordinary scenes—from car lots to strip malls—also link him to the environmental concerns of the next generation of New Topographic photographers [Adams, Baltz, Shore, Nixon, Deal].
Although Sinsabaugh is admired by many scholars, photographers and curators as an important photographic innovator, his fame has been limited by his working methodology. As one of the earliest photographers to produce small limited editions (often not more than three), his mounted exhibition prints are extremely rare.

Sinsabaugh images online:

A trio of midwest panoramas
Chicago Landcape #66
Untitled (negative #239)
Chicago landscape #23

For what it's worth: Keith Davis is curator of the Hallmark Collection and was the man behind Unknown Maker, that lovely AIC daguerreotype exhibit in Summer '03.


Focus: Anri Sala

October 21, 2004–January 30, 2005

The Art Institute of Chicago showcases a world premiere, as-yet-untitled film by film/video artist Anri Sala—specially commissioned by the museum’s Department of Contemporary Art. The film is currently being shot on location in Chicago and features a collaboration with a yet to-be-announced local rock band. Sala has won nine awards internationally for his artistic films and documentaries and will now be displaying his talent in a new and original prodcution specifically for the Art Institute.
The film and video work of Anri Sala is emblematic of an emerging generation of enormously promising artists who hail from places in Europe once believed to exist outside the mainstream discourses of the geographical, political, aesthetic, and intellectual boundaries of contemporary European art. Sala lives and works in France, but he was born in Albania in 1974 and grew up in Tirana during the brutally repressive Communist era and witnessed Albania’s arduous, uncertain conversion to capitalism. In the mid 1990s, he moved to Paris to study film and video. Since that time, he has received widespread acclaim for his blend of documentary, narrative, and autobiographical approaches. His separation from his native country imbues his practice with a dual consciousness: all of his works—exploring the dissonance between language and image, speech and action, appearances and elusive historical fact—record everyday situations that inevitably become allegories for a troubled society in transition.
Among his most noteworthy and praised work is Intervista (1998) [First Run/Icarus Films, OFFOFFOFF, After the Wall], in which Sala explores the history of the Albania revolution through found television footage of his mother’s activities as a leader of the Communist youth alliance. The film follows Sala’s efforts to recover the contents of his mother’s interview, now silent without its original soundtrack. After deaf lip readers succeed in restoring the dialogue, we learn that Sala’s mother expresses disbelief in her own naïve recital of party jargon, ironically remarking, “we were living in a deaf and dumb system.”
For Blindfold (2002)[Still 1, Still 2, When the Night Calls It a Day], a double-screen film projection with a new music soundtrack by noted Brazilian composer Wilson Sukorski, Sala returned to the Albanian city of Tirana, where he filmed two empty billboards at dusk. Covered with metallic foil, the billboards notably lack the advertising they were designed to carry. In the absence of thriving commerce, these objects become, for Sala, beautiful abstractions. As the sun sets, the foils reflect light, and the surfaces glow and radiate a shimmering, formal optimism amidst an environment of urban decay.

Anri Sala Linkage:

Artfacts profile
Current and past exhibitions
Represented by: Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Galerie Martin Janda/Raum Aktueller Kunst
Night Hawk by Adrian Searle
Moved to Stillnes—Anri Sala’s Dammi I Colori by Regina Gleeson
ArtForum review from 2001 by Astrid Wege
Manifesta 3


Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre

July 16–October 10, 2005

(originates at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), one of the most popular and important painters of late 19th-century Paris, has not been the subject of a major exhibition since the large retrospective seen in London and Paris in 1991–1992. The National Gallery of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago have collaborated to organize Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre, an exhibition that will place the artist's work at the peak of his career between 1888 and 1896 in conjunction with that of other artists at that period. Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries produced images that evocatively recorded the social geography of Montmartre, center of licit and illicit entertainment. Taking Montmartre as a state of mind as well as an environment, the exhibition will re-evaluate the decadent worldview of fin-de-siècle Paris, so different from that of the preceding Impressionist generation. The focus will be on several Montmartre themes, including the dance halls, the circus, and the maisons closes, integrating major avant-garde paintings, topographical canvases, and posters and caricatures of stars like Aristide Bruant and Loïe Fuller.
The aim of the exhibition is to place Toulouse-Lautrec in the wider context of his time and place and to include for comparison and contrast a selection of works by his contemporaries—painters, printmakers, and poster artists—to evoke the life and art of fin-de-siècle Montmartre. This supporting cast will include such famous names as Degas, Seurat, and Picasso, but also less-well-known figures such as Anquetin, Steinlen, and Casas, who nonetheless captured the spirit of that age. This will add a powerful new dimension to our understanding of Toulouse-Lautrec and his time.

Trivia (i.e., 'I'm getting carried away'):

The Sofa by Rachel Cohen
The Grand Guignol
The Musée de l'Erotisme
From a slightly later period: Circus strongwomen and female wrestlers in the beginning of XX century

Finally, and almost totally straying from our purpose here, meet Joseph Pujols, known to most as "Le Pétomane" (or "the Fartiste"), whose fantastic musical numbers were a Parisian craze after his 1892 debut at the Moulin Rouge. (And he was the namesake of one Honorable Governor William J. Le Petomane to boot.)

These days one can find his talent...

...memorialized in print: Le Petomane, featured in this chapter from The RE/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids

...immortalized on film: Le Pétomane (1979), Il Pétomane (1983), Le Pétomane: Fin de siècle fartiste (1998)

...and preserved in a jar at the American Dime Museum.

"Up Close and Annotated: Art Institute Preview"
Posted by Dan at 02:46 PM

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Referenced in this post:


Deichtorhallen Hamburg: When the Night Calls It a Day
Aaron Siskind Foundation
Airy Nothing: Photo album—Jar of Joseph Pujol's fart
American Repertory Theatre: Reign of Terror–The Peculiar Charms of the Grand Guignol—Gideon Lester
Arfacts.net: Arni Sala
Art Chicago 2004: Howard Greenberg Gallery: Art Sinsabaugh—Chicago landscape #23
Art Institute of Chicago: Exhibitions—American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
Art Institute of Chicago: Exhibitions—Focus: Anri Sala
Art Institute of Chicago: Exhibitions—Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre
Art Institute of Chicago: Exhibitions—Unknown Maker
ArtForum: Anri Sala—Galerie Johnen And Schottle
Artcyclopedia: Aaron Siskind
Artcyclopedia: Eugène Atget
Artcyclopedia: Louis Anquetin
Artcyclopedia: Nicholas Nixon
Artcyclopedia: Theophile Alexandre Steinlen
Chrysler Museum of Art: Hallmark Collection
Columbus Museum of Art
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs
Expositions Paris Art Contemporain: Anri Sala—Blindfold (1)
Expositions Paris Art Contemporain: Anri Sala—Blindfold (2)
Female Single Combat Club: Circus strongwomen and female wrestlers in the beginning of XX century
First Run/Icarus Films: Intervista
Frye Art Museum: Eloquent Vistas: The Art of 19th-Century American Landscape Photography from the George Eastman House Collection
Galerie Hauser & Wirth
Galerie Martin Janda/Raum Aktueller Kunst
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle
George Eastman House: Harry Callahan
George Eastman House: Lewis Baltz
Guardian: Night Hawk—Adrian Searle
Guggenheim Collection: Pablo Picasso—Le Moulin de la Galette
Hooker Heroes: Inspiring Toulouse-Lautrec
Humanities Web: It's a Circus Out There
IMDb: Blazing Saddles
IMDb: Il Pétomane (1983)
IMDb: Le Pétomane (1979)
IMDb: Le Pétomane: Fin de siècle fartiste (1998)
Indiana University Art Museum
Indiana University: Media Relations—Chicago Landcape #66
Indiana University: Media Relations—Greater fame may be on the horizon for American photographer Art Sinsabaugh
Indiana University: Media Relations—Three photos from the IU Art Museum's collection of Art Sinsabaugh's photography
Institute of Design, IIT
InterART: Georges Seurat (1859-1891)
Joseph Pujol, the Fartiste
Keith Davis: American Horizons : The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
Khronikos: Reading between the brushstrokes: Art as a primary source in history—Nicolas Kenny
Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavillion
Lautrec.info: Aristide Bruant
Le Fresnoy, National Studio of Contemporary Arts
Manifesta 3: Artists—Anri Sala
Masters of Photography: Eugène Atget
Masters of Photography: Harry Callahan
Masters of Photography: Robert Adams
Masters of Photography: Stephen Shore
Metropole Paris: A Nice Mix of Art, History and Sex–Paris Life 34—Laurel Avery
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya: The Spirit of Renewal—Casas and Rusiñol
Music of 19th Century Paris: Popular Music
NY Arts: Moved to Stillnes–Anri Sala’s Dammi I Colori—Regina Gleeson
National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Australia: Dance Hall Days: French Posters from Chéret to Toulouse-Lautrec
Nohain: Le Petomane
OFFOFFOFF: Intervista
Paleta: Edgar Degas—Mlle La La at the Circus Fernando
Paul Spinrad: RE/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids
Photography Now: Anri Sala—Exhibitions
RETRO: Le Pétomane: The Strange Life of a 'Fartiste'—Garrick H.S. Brown
RISD: Profiles—Joe Deal
San Diego Museum of Art: The Posters of Toulouse-Lautrec
Songs of the Communist Youth Alliance and the Pioneer Organisation
The Collected Image: Sinsabaugh—Untitled (negative #239)
Threepenny Review: The Sofa—Rachel Cohen
UKS-Forum: After the Wall or East of Eden in Sweden?—Andrea Kroksnes
University of California Santa Cruz: Modern European Intellectual History 1870–1970: Lecture 7—Apollinaire and the Avant-Garde
Wet Canvas: Virtual Museum: Masters of the Poster
Who's Who of Victorian Cinema: Loïe Fuller
Wikipedia: Albania
Wikipedia: Communist and post-Communist Albania
Wikipedia: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Wikipedia: Le Pétomane
Wikipedia: Montmartre
Wikipedia: Tirana
Wilson Sukrorski: Personal Data
Wilson Sukrorski: Program Notes