From October 27 through December 12, 1999, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Photogravity, an installation by Gabriel Orozco, an artist who is widely acclaimed for both his photographs and sculptural works. The fifth in the series of Museum Studies installations by living artists created specifically for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Photogravity examines, through photographic surrogates produced specifically for this exhibition, recent work by Orozco in relation to the ancient pre-Columbian sculpture of his native Mexico.
Photographic reproductions of Orozco's own work, applied to cut-to-match backing boards and "standing" on supporting mounts, share the large, light-filled Gisela and Dennis Alter Gallery (176, first floor) with similar stand-ins for pre-Columbian sculptures from the Museum's Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection. (The Arensberg's 1950 gift brought almost 200 pre-Columbian sculptures to the Museum along with an unparalleled collection of masterworks by seminal modernists, including Marcel Duchamp and Constantin Brancusi.)
Orozco's new objects are both sculptural and photographic, but not fully either one. They bring to mind another celebrated work in the Museum's 20th-Century Galleries: Duchamp's retrospective in a briefcase, the Box-in-Valise (1941). In pairing representations of his own work with images of pre-Columbian sculpture--which exhibition curator Ann Temkin describes as a "conjunction of two friendly phantoms"--Orozco reinvents the dialogue between "primitive" and "modern" initiated in the Arensbergs' collection.
Also titled Photogravity, a 120-page publication accompanies the installation, and is available through the Museum Store, or by calling (215) 684-7962. It features some 100 color and black-and-white illustrations, texts from the artist's journals, and an afterward by Ann Temkin, The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of 20th-Century Art.
Born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in 1962, Orozco is based in New York City. Orozco has exhibited throughout the world, including a major exhibition at the Museé d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1998. Black Kites, 1997, a sculpture he exhibited at Documenta X, an influential, international contemporary-art exposition held in Kassel, Germany, is now in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His work will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in summer 2000.
Previous Museum Studies initiatives were developed by artists Sherrie Levine, Lawrence Weiner, Richard Long, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. Museum Studies 5 is supported by a grant from the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. The Pew Charitable Trusts, among the nation's largest philanthropies, support nonprofit activities in culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy, and religion. Based in Philadelphia, the Trusts make strategic investments to encourage civic engagement in addressing critical issues and effecting social change.