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January 27th, 2014
Michael Snow: Photo-Centric

February 1–April 27, 2014
Honickman and Berman Galleries

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present the first exhibition in the United States in over four decades devoted solely to the photographic work of the acclaimed Canadian artist Michael Snow. One of the most influential experimental filmmakers of his generation, Snow is known and admired for his multidisciplinary approach to art making. Photo-Centric will highlight this important aspect of his practice, exploring the intimate connections that exist between his work in photography, painting, sculpture, and film.

Developed in close collaboration with the artist, Photo-Centric is a focused survey of Snow’s photography-based work and presents key examples of his use of the medium over the past five decades. This body of work has been central to Snow’s investigation of the nature and limits of representation, articulated through an exploration of photography and its processes. According to Snow, “To extend the depth of what has been called ‘art’ into photography requires . . . making available to the spectator the amazing transformations the subject undergoes to become the photograph.”

Poised between two- and three-dimensionality, a number of works in this exhibition engage physically with the gallery space and the viewer, and are representative of Snow’s various approaches to photography and the various ways in which it “frames” vision. Each work exemplifies one or more of the strategies employed by Snow to explore this idea. Illumination, transparency, staging, simultaneity and sequence, size manipulation, cropping, and framing are brought into play and exposed for the part they play in the making of photographic images.

Michael Snow: Photo-Centric also explores the intimate connections that exist between the artist’s paintings, sculptures, and films as mediated by and through photography. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is an ideal context for Snow and his work, which illuminates concepts critical to the making and appreciation of art.

Michael Snow: Photo-Centric will be accompanied by a catalogue published by the Museum in association with Yale University Press. It will include essays by Michael Snow and Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, and a foreword by Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer. The sixty-page catalogue includes thirty-nine illustrations and will be available for $20.00 in February 2014.

About the artist
Michael Snow (Canadian, born 1928) attended the Ontario College of Art, where he specialized in design while independently painting and playing jazz piano. A sculptor, filmmaker, painter, photographer, installation-maker, and musician, Snow has been featured in solo exhibitions and retrospectives including the Venice Biennale, 1970; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1970, 1994); the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1976; Documenta 6, 1977; the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1978, 2003); the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1988); the Power Plant, Toronto (1994, 2009); the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (1995); the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, and the Cinémathèque Française, Paris (1999); the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris (2000); among others. He has earned numerous international awards and titles and his works in all media are found in public collections worldwide.

Public Programs

Art After Five: Improvisations: Michael Snow and Thollem McDonas
Friday, January 31, 5:00–8:45 p.m.
Great Stair Hall
Free after Museum admission
Snow and composer Thollem McDonas will present an improvisational, dual-piano concert.

In Dialogue: Michael Snow and Adelina Vlas
Saturday, February 1, 2013, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Van Pelt Auditorium
Free ticket required; Museum admission not required to attend this program
Snow will join Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, in a conversation about the exhibition.

The Films of Michael Snow
This program is guest curated by filmmaker and writer J. Louise Makary.

Program A
Wednesday, February 5, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, February 21, 6:30 p.m.
Free ticket required; Museum admission not required to attend this program
Van Pelt Auditorium

Wavelength (1966–67), 45 minutes
Standard Time (1967), 8 minutes
One Second in Montreal (1969), 26 minutes
The three films in this program reveal Snow’s interest in how films affect our perception of time and space.

Program B
Friday, February 7, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 19, 6:30 p.m.
Free ticket required; Museum admission not required to attend this program
Van Pelt Auditorium

See You Later–Au Revoir (1990), 18 minutes
To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991), 53 minutes

Snow produced and appears in both of these films, which are concerned with breaking down basic ideas about cinema—for instance, the physical properties of celluloid and Hollywood's narrative drive—and pushing film toward abstraction.

Program C
Reverberlin (2006), 55 minutes
Wednesday, February 12, 6:30 p.m.
Free ticket required; Museum admission not required to attend this program
Van Pelt Auditorium

Incorporating concert footage of the free improvisational ensemble CCMC (Paul Dutton, John Oswald, and Michael Snow), Reverberlin weaves together images and sounds from performances that have taken place across the globe. Renowned for his innovative work in film, Snow is also an accomplished musician and sound artist. He began playing jazz piano in the late 1940s and has worked with free improvisation since the 1960s.

In addition, the film Presents (1981) will be screened at the University of Pennsylvania’s International House on Friday, April 25, at 7:00 p.m.

Exhibition Hours
Tuesday and Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Wednesday and Friday: 10:00 a.m.–8:45 p.m. The exhibition will be open during normal hours on Presidents’ Day.

Social Media
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Social Media
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For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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