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Exhibition

  • Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964-1977
    Matthew S. Witkovsky
    Curator
    Regenstein Hall, The Art Institute of Chicago
    Dec 13, 2011 to Mar 11, 2012
  • GRANTEE
    Art Institute of Chicago
    GRANT YEAR
    2011

Andy Warhol, Empire, 1964, 16mm, black and white, silent, 8 hours 5 minutes at 16 frames per second. ©2011 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved.

Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964-1977 is the first exhibition to explore the pivotal role that photography played in this movement. The opening of the exhibit is marked by an outdoor screening of Andy Warhol's Empire (1964) on Friday, December 9, 2011. This one-night event projects Warhol's eight-hour single-shot film onto 12 upper stories (150 feet tall) of the Aon Center in downtown Chicago. It marks the first outdoor, large-scale presentation of this landmark experimental work in the United States. The projection in Chicago—birthplace of the modern skyscraper—is in keeping with key themes in Conceptual uses of photography, foremost among them the desire to test whether an image of a thing can not just depict but somehow “stand in for” that thing.

Matthew S. Witkovsky, Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator Department of Photography, joined the Art Institute of Chicago in January 2009. He came from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where he had worked since 2002, most recently as the Associate Curator of Photographs. Prior to that he worked for several years at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, serving in 1998-1999 as the museum's acting curator of photographs. During his career, he has worked on a number of projects in modern art, including Constantin Brancusi (Philadelphia, 1995) and Dada (Washington, 2006). The catalogue to his traveling exhibition Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945 (Washington, 2007) received the Kraszna-Krausz Award and the Vienna Artbook Award. He has lectured and published in October, The Art Bulletin, History of Photography, and Etudes Photographiques, among other publications. Since joining the museum, he has organized a number of groundbreaking exhibitions including Lewis Baltz: Protoypes/Ronde de Nuit (2010), Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life (2011), and the upcoming Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964-1977 (2011-2012).

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world's diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with the museum profession's highest ethical standards and practices. With an encyclopedic collection comprising 270,000 objects and spanning 50 centuries of human creative achievement, the Art Institute is recognized worldwide as a leading center for the preservation, exhibition, and study of visual art across all eras and cultures.