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"The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today", at the Museum of Modern Art
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"The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today", at the Museum of Modern Art

- In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers

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The Original Copy:
Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today

At Museum of Modern Art
August 1–November 1, 2010

www.moma.org
11 West 53rd Street
NY, NY 10019

Paul Jackson, MoMA Press

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 27, 2010


I spent a rainy Monday at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) today to view the Matisse exhibit and have lunch at the bar of The Modern. After Matisse, I was ready for something photographic, something different, and The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today was perfect. According to the MOMA Exhibit Web Page, this exhibit “presents a critical examination of the intersections between photography and sculpture, exploring how the one medium has become implicated in the understanding of the other. Through a selection of nearly three hundred outstanding pictures by more than one hundred artists from the dawn of modernism to the present, the exhibition looks at the ways in which photography at once informs and challenges our understanding of sculpture.” (MOMA Exhibit Web Page)

The concept of studying photographs of sculpture is brilliant, as the two genres, analyzed as one, are an ever fascinating aesthetic. Constantin Brancusi’s own 1919 photo of his "L'Oiseau (Golden Bird)", photographed onto gelatin silver print, looked almost like a shooting star at midnight. The lighting contrast was astounding. Edward Steichen’s “Midnight—Rodin's Balzac", 1908, on pigment print, gives the viewer the sense of being alone, in a dark garden, with the imposing figure, Balzac. In a fourth step, I photographed my favorite works in the exhibit, and Man Ray’s 1926 “Noire et blanche”, on gelatin silver print, radiantly contrasts a silky white model with a dark African mask. Peter Fischli and David Weiss’ 1984 “The Three Sisters", a chromogenic color print, features five ladies pumps, each a different color, configured as a sculpture in space. I also photographed their 1984 "Outlaws", also a chromogenic color print, of two well-worn chairs seeming to be in battle, leg to leg.

David Goldblatt’s 1990 “HF Verwoerd Building, Headquarters of the Provincial Administration, Inaugurated on 17 October 1969, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State”, a gelatin silver print, showcases imposing government buildings with a strong male statue of an obvious leader of state. A close-up of the chiseled stone head of a female statue, taken by Barbara Kruger in 1981, is untitled, but the photo reads, “Your Gaze Hits the Side of My Face". It’s stunning in black/grey/white. My final photo of the hundreds of photographs on exhibit is of one taken by Man Ray in 1918, called “Integration of Shadows", a gelatin silver print. It’s of a dark sculpture against a white wall that seems to be made of bowls, rods, and clips. The photographed shadows enhance the sculpture itself. Check out www.moma.org to plan your visit.



Constantin Brancusi. French,
b. Romania, 1876–1957
"L'Oiseau (Golden Bird)". c. 1919
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Thomas Walther Collection. Purchase
2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ADAGP, Paris
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Edward Steichen. American,
b. Luxembourg, 1879–1973
"Midnight—Rodin's Balzac". 1908
Pigment print
The Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Gift of the photographer
Permission of Joanna T. Steichen
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky).
American,1890–1976
"Noire et blanche (Black and white)". 1926
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art, NY
Gift of James Thrall Soby
2010 Man Ray Trust/
Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ADAGP, Paris
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Fischli/Weiss (Peter Fischli.
Swiss, b. 1952.
David Weiss. Swiss, born 1946)
"The Three Sisters". 1984
Chromogenic color print
Courtesy the artists and
Matthew Marks Gallery, NY
Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, NY
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Fischli/Weiss (Peter Fischli.
Swiss, b. 1952.
David Weiss. Swiss, born 1946)
"Outlaws". 1984
Chromogenic color print
Courtesy the artists and
Matthew Marks Gallery, NY
Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, NY
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


David Goldblatt. South African, b. 1930
HF Verwoerd Building, Headquarters
of the Provincial Administration,
Inaugurated on 17 October 1969,
Bloemfontein, Orange Free State.
December 26, 1990
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy the artist
and The Goodman Gallery,
Johannesburg
2010 David Goldblatt.
Courtesy David Goldblatt Goodman Gallery
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Barbara Kruger. American, b. 1945
"Untitled (Your Gaze Hits the Side of My Face)". 1981
Gelatin silver print
The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection
2010 Barbara Kruger.
Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, NY
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky).
American, 1890–1976
"Integration of Shadows". 1918
Gelatin silver print
Private collection.
2010 Man Ray Trust/
Artists Rights Society (ARS),
NY/ADAGP, Paris
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net