Image Building At Parrish Art

Korab Image, Christian Korab, Minnesota.
Balthazar Korab’s 860–880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, IL, 1960.

Therese Lichtenstein brings her remarkable and informative book, Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture to life at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill beginning March 18.

The exhibition features 57 images that explore the social, psychological, and conceptual implications of architecture through the subjective interpretations of those who captured them.

The photographers featured are a who’s-who of avant-garde photographers ranging from early modern architectural photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Samuel H. Gottscho, and Julius Shulman; to the next generation, including Robert Adams; as well as contemporary photographers such as Iwan Baan, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

In addition to photographs, Image Building includes ephemera such as magazines and books that illustrate how the meaning of photography shifts when presented in the context of high art or mass culture. Organized thematically into Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces, and Public Places, the exhibition examines the relationship between contemporary and historical approaches to photographing buildings in urban, suburban, and rural environments, looking at influences, similarities, and differences.

By juxtaposing these photographs, the “Image Building” exhibit creates a dialogue between the past and present, revealing the ways photography shapes and frames the perception of architecture, and how that perception is transformed over time.

Lichtenstein was the curator of “Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris,” and is the author of Twilight Visions: Surrealism and Paris (2009). She was also the author of Behind Closed Doors: The Art of Hans Bellmer, and curated the exhibit of the same name, which was awarded Best Photography Exhibition of 2001 by the International Association of Art Critics.

Lichtenstein received her Ph.D. in Art History from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and has written articles and reviews for Art in America, Artforum, and Arts Magazine. She taught at Rice University, Mount Holyoke College, New York University, and the International Center of Photography; and currently teaches art history at the Ross School in East Hampton.

Looking at how photography shapes and frames our understanding of architecture, the author’s latest volume offers thought-provoking points of view through an exploration of social and cultural issues.

The Parrish Art Museum exhibit shows how different photographers represent the same building, offers commentaries on the “American dream,” and explores changes in commercial architectural photography. Placing decades-old images alongside modern ones, “Image Building” depicts the idea of the comfortable middle-class home and the construction of suburbia as an ironic ideal.

It presents the ways that public spaces such as libraries, museums, theaters, and office buildings are experienced differently. Photographers highlight the social, cultural, psychological, and aesthetic conditions of each to reveal the layered meanings of place and identity.

The show will run through June 17.

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