Sara VanDerBeek, Foundation, Reynes Street, 2010, Chromogenic print, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Collection of the artist; courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco, © Sara VanDerBeek 2010.
Sara VanDerBeek, Baltimore Window, 2010, Chromogenic print, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Collection of the artist; courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco, © Sara VanDerBeek 2010.
Sara VanDerBeek, Foundation, Dorgenois Street, 2010, Chromogenic print, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Collection of the artist; courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco, © Sara VanDerBeek 2010.
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
Emily Fisher Landau Galleries, fourth floor
Sara VanDerBeek: To Think of Time
September 17-December 5, 2010
Sara VanDerBeek’s quiet semi-abstract photographs are based predominantly on sculptural forms created by the artist. In the past, she has collected pictures from various sources, including art history books, archives, magazines, and newspapers, incorporating them into sculptures that are made only to be photographed in the artist’s studio. (After being photographed, the sculptures are immediately dismantled, and VanDerBeek’s pictures provide the only remaining evidence of the temporary structure.) In her work on view in this exhibition, VanDerBeek continues this practice, yet she couples it with ventures outside the studio to explore the subtle perceptual shifts of the sun. One of the most talked-about young artists today, her work was included in MoMA’s New Photography 2009. This is her first solo museum exhibition.
Art critic Graham T. Beck, says of her work, "Sara VanDerBeek is every historicist’s dream: an artist whose biography and practice seem so symmetrical that it’s tempting to skip all of the written arguments and simply draw a diagram. A daughter of the experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek and a co-founder of the now-defunct downtown New York gallery Guild & Greyshkul, she photographs handmade assemblages adorned with images from art history, American culture, her father’s archive and of her own making. With even the most cursory glance, certain influences (and their attendant anxieties) seem to jump from her life onto her photographs."
Beck continues, "Most obvious is the curatorial quality of her work: each assemblage is like an exhibition space, the pictures that adorn it are like objects carefully selected for the show, and the photographs themselves serve as a monograph of what once was. In A Composition for Detroit (2009) — a wall-size, four-panel work that VanDerBeek debuted in New Photography 2009 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York — one of Charles Moore’s fire-hosing photographs from the Birmingham campaign of the Civil Rights Movement appears above a Depression-era Walker Evans photo veiled by streaks of dripping paint and below a picture that VanDerBeek took of an abandoned factory in Detroit. These present a distinct theme concerning the USA in conflict with itself — the kind of theoretical peg that a good gallery will offer visitors to hang
their hat on, while puzzling over the shadowy shoji-like armature that supports the images, and the paint-smeared pane of glass that serves as the backdrop to some of the images and a partial obstruction to others, implying that there’s more here than meets the eye. And that’s just the first of four panels."
Sara VanDerBeek was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1976 and lives in New York City. She received her BFA from Cooper Union School of Art and Science in New York City in 1998. VanDerBeek’s work has been presented in a one-person exhibition at The Approach, London, UK and D’Amelio Terras in New York, and has been included in numerous thematic exhibitions such as Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.C.; New Photography 2009 at the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.; Signs of the Times at the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.C.; A New High in Getting Low at Art Forum Berlin, Berlin, Germany; The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place at the Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK; and Radiant City at Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, CA.
Curator of the exhibition is Tina Kukielski.
Sara VanDerBeek, Eclipse 3, 2008, Digital C-type print, 51 × 41 cm.
Sara VanDerBeek, Treme School Window, 2010, Chromogenic print, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Collection of the artist; courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York and Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco, © Sara VanDerBeek 2010.