artists & participants
In October 1993, Henry M. Buhl purchased a photograph by Alfred Stieglitz of Georgia O'Keeffe's hands. This photograph would come to be the cornerstone of a private collection that now includes over one thousand images by the medium's foremost practitioners as well as little-known and emerging artists. Focusing on the theme of the hand, Buhl has gathered images spanning the history of photography, from a photogenic drawing negative made in 1840 by William Henry Fox Talbot to serial Polaroids made in 2002 by Cornelia Parker. The collection also encompasses a comprehensive range of photographic practices, including scientific, journalistic, and fine-art photography, with a strong component of contemporary art.
The Buhl Collection's theme of the hand illuminates the very nature of photography, as well as unique aspects of collecting photographs. This exhibition features over 170 objects by 150 artists drawn from The Buhl Collection and grouped into both thematic sections and historically based categories. The work demonstrates the prevalence of the hand as a photographic theme, a result, in part, of photography's easy ability to capture fragments and detail, as well as ephemeral movement.
A significant part of Speaking with Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection is devoted to portraits of hands that function as metonymic representations of the person. When the subject is identified—whether artist, performer, or athlete—the portraits purport to reveal the nature of the sitters' professions and the sources of their celebrity. Conventions of theatrical gesture are featured in portraits of actors and dancers, while the expressive gesticulations of private individuals are recorded in poetic representations of everyday life. Photo journalistic images depict the rhetorical gestures employed by charismatic political figures. The hand is disproportionately the bearer of meaning in these documentary photographs, even though it is only a part of a larger scenario.
Speaking with Hands also examines abstract and manipulated photographs from the 1920s to the 1950s in which the hand appears in a fragmented and fetishized form. Many of these pieces were created within the context of, or deeply influenced by, avant-garde artistic movements, including Constructivism, Surrealism, and the Bauhaus. Their technical experimentation yielded photograms that directly present the actual hand, as well as photomontages that deconstruct and recompose hands in evocative ways.
A large part of The Buhl Collection is devoted to art of the last 25 years. Most of this contemporary work is conceptually oriented and distinct from earlier photographs in its large scale and use of color. In the 1970s, many conceptual and performance artists employed photography to document the intersection of their bodies and their environment and to produce a deadpan rendering of daily life and experience. Subsequent photographs reflect an appetite for risk taking and the grotesque as artists incorporated performance gestures into representations of the body (usually their own). Another aspect of the contemporary work in Speaking with Hands is the interest, dating from the 1980s, in the visual representation of language. Such pieces, which appropriate media representations of hand gestures or juxtapose photographic images and texts, form a prelude to the predominantly conceptually oriented work of the 1990s in the exhibition.
Speaking with Hands
Photographs from The Buhl Collection
Kurator: Jennifer Blessing, Guggenheim Museum, New York
Künstler: Alfred Stieglitz, William Henry Fox Talbot, Cornelia Parker, Sarah Charlesworth, Joseph Grigley, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Vik Muniz, James Nasmyth, Gabriel Orozco, Man Ray, Ringl & Pit, Alexander Rodtschenko, Tina Modotti, Jeff Wall, Gilbert & Harrison, Rachel Harrison, Robert Doisneau, Andy Warhol, John Coplans, Annie Leibovitz, Cindy Sherman, Jeanne Dunning, Maurizio Cattelan, Dough Gordon, Vito Acconci, Andreas Gursky, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Janine Antoni, Diane Arbus, Eve Arnold, Richard Avedon, John Baldessari, Tracey Baran, Tina Barney, Herbert Bayer, Hans Bellmer, Mel Bochner, Margaret Bourke-White, Brassaï, Helen Pierce Breaker, Anton Bruehl, Larry Burrows, Claude Cahun, Julia Margaret Cameron, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry Clark, Chuck Close, Charles M. Conlon, Jules Courtier, Gregory Crewdson, Imogen Cunningham, Bruce Davidson, Rineke Dijkstra, Andre Adolphe Disderi, Frantisek Drtikol, Pierre Dubreuil, Eugene Ducretet, Harold Edgerton, William Eggleston, Elliott Erwitt, Frederick Evans, Walker Evans, Andreas Feininger, Donna Ferrato, Robert Filliou, Marc Foucault, Robert Frank, Leonard Freed, Lee Friedlander, Anna Gaskell, Mario Giacomelli, Ralph Gibson, Nan Goldin, Emmet Gowin, Dan Graham, Jan Groover, Pedro Guerrero, John Gutmann, Raymond Hains, D. O. Hill / Robert Adamson, E. O. Hoppe, Peter Hujar, Louis Igout, Pierre Jahan, Gyorgy Kepes, André Kertész, William Klein, Gustav Klucis, Barbara Kruger, Dorothea Lange, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Clarence John Laughlin, Annie Leibovitz, Annette Lemieux, Helen Levitt, Alexander Liberman, Dora Maar, Adrien Majewski, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mary Ellen Mark, Paul McCarthy, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Annette Messager, Lee Miller, Lisette Model, Pierre Molinier, Vik Muniz, Eadweard Muybridge, Félix Nadar, James Nasmyth, Bruce Nauman, Charles Negre, Shirin Neshat, Gabriel Orozco, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Giuseppe Penone, Gilles Peress, Roy Pinney, Sigmar Polke, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray, O. G. Rejlander, Rene-Jacques, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Marc Riboud, Herb Ritts, Paolo Roversi, Lucas Samaras, August Sander, Jenny Saville, Gary Schneider, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Osamu Shiihara, Lorna Simpson, W. Eugene Smith, Lord Snowdon, Southworth & Hawes, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Thomas Struth, Maurice Tabard, Sam Taylor-Wood, Wolfgang Tillmans, Andy Warhol, Weegee , Edward Weston, Minor White, Garry Winogrand, Joel-Peter Witkin, David Wojnarowicz, Rene Zuber
04.06.04 - 08.09.04 Guggenheim Museum - New York
25.11.05 - 27.03.06 Guggenheim - Bilbao
20.05.06 - 30.07.06 Museum Folkwang, Essen
Sept. - Nov. 2006 Russian Museum, St. Petersburg