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Mark Klett: Ideas About Time
January 14 - March 13, 2005
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum is presenting Mark Klett: Ideas About Time, a major retrospective of work by the Tempe, AZ-based photographer who has earned international acclaim. The exhibition opens Friday, January 14, 2005 and is on view at the museum through March 13, 2005. (right: Mark Klett, Desert Artifacts, 1992, record warped by heat (Rita Coolidge/Kris Kristofferson: Breakaway), Iris ink ket prints, four prints, 39.25 x 30 inches)
Ideas About Time is a photographic exploration of the passage of time mapping the changing landscape and the decisive moments created by the detritus of human civilization, geological forces and the point of view of the photographer himself. Klett is known primarily as a photographer who specializes in works that focus on perceptions of the American West. Ideas About Time will follow the concept of time throughout the artist's work, from panoramas and sequential works, to photographs that will be exhibited for the first time. Arizona State University Art Museum Director and curator of the exhibition, Marilyn Zeitlin, comments, "The idea of returning to a place to encapsulate change over time is central to Klett's work."
Among the works in the exhibition are photographs from the Second View and Third View projects, in which the location and orientation of 19th century photographs of the western landscape were painstakingly recreated in the 1970's and again in the 1990's. The series of images create a unique understanding of the relationship between people and place in the west, as the photographs form connections between past and the present, illustrating the dynamic interaction of nature and culture. The exhibition also features an interactive CD-ROM projection of the Third View project which explains the process and outcome of this ambitious undertaking.
The exhibition, catalogue, and tour have been organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum and curated by Marilyn A. Zeitlin, Director. It is made possible through the generous support of:
A lecture by Mark Klett will be given January 14, 2005 as part of the esteemed Steven & Dorothea Green Critics' Lecture Series.
Mark Klett was born in Albany, New York, in 1952. His education was first in geology (B. S. from St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, in 1974) and later in photography (M.F.A. from State University of New York, Buffalo, Program at the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York). His earliest jobs were as a photographer with the U.S. Geologic Survey. (right: Mark Klett, Birth of Venus Series, 1998-1999, Copying the Birth of Venus, Color-coupler laser prints, eight prints in series, 16 x 20 inches)
His work received early recognition, with an Emerging Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979. Since that time, he has received many other awards including selection for the 1986 Awards in the Visual Arts, Photographer of the Year from Friends of Photography and a Japan/U.S. Creative Artist Fellowship from the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission in 1993. In 2001, he was named a Regents Professor at Arizona State University.
His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art; University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma; the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; Portfolio Gallery, Antwerp, the Netherlands; Photo Gallery International, Tokyo, Japan; Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Etherton/Stern Gallery, Tucson; Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles; and Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona.
His work has been included in many group exhibitions, among which are Breathless! Photography and Time, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Shifting Ground: Transformed Views of the American Landscape, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Crossing the Frontier: Photographs of the Developing West, 1849 To the Present, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Edweard Muybridge et le Panorama Photographique de San Francisco, Musée Carnavalet, Paris; Tradition and the Unpredictable, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Legacy of Light, International Center for Photography, New York; Visions of the West: Two Views from Two Centuries, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; American Dreams, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, and Fundación Juan Miró, Barcelona, Spain. His work is included in major collections in the United States and internationally.
More on the exhibition
The scope of conceivable time and the changes that occur within it is an underlying theme in the work of Mark Klett. Change may reflect entropy or decay, loss or abandonment, or the encroachment of progress on the wilderness. In the work in this exhibition, which spans sixteen years of the artist's output, Klett captures and reshapes time, and by doing so, reflects upon the relationship of nature and human progress. His attitudes toward this interaction are placed in several different time scales, from geologic time in his images of the vast monuments of the Southwest to more intimate scale in the recording of his daughter's first ten years. In every case, the expression brings together a subtle poetry with a scientific exactitude. (right: Mark Klett, Self Protrait with Saguaro, About My Same Age, Pinacate, 10/29/99, Gelatin Silver print, 16 x 20 inches)
The approaches include an array of strategies. In the one for which he is best known, Klett re-photographs the desert landscape from the same spot and from the same angle that his predecessors -- painters and photographers -- more than a century earlier saw and recorded them. The result is a sort of Doppler effect that pinpoints what has happened over a century, or a decade. In a similar strategy, Klett records change in a series of regularly sequenced intervals, both over years and over hours, denying both permanence and that there is a single truth of what a place looks like, and thus, by extension, questioning absolutes of any kind. He stretches time in panoramas, and pleats that time by adding possible replacement images in what seems like a seamless sequence. He shows us the transformation of objects found in the desert exposed to extremes of light and heat. He allows us to see how meaning changes over time in a recent series about the site at which the Enola Gay was built. He documents catastrophic change wrought by the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, and the memento mori that the ruins become. He presents the susceptibility of art itself to decay and loss in a work damaged by heat. Finally, he has made a simple clock that is also a game to predict the shadow that the rising sun will throw. On one level, Klett photographs that beauty to arrest it so that it can be contemplated and preserved through art. Underlying these works is the romantic fusion of awe in the face of beauty and the intimation of loss.
Sunrise Stick Game Wall Text
The Sunrise Stick Game
The object of the game is to guess where the sun will cast the first shadow of the day. After dark a circle is drawn in the ground and a stick placed in the center. Each player lays a marker where he or she feels the stick's shadow will cross the circle at the moment of first light. Accounting for both seasonal changes and the land's obstacles, such as trees or rocks, are part of the game.
Originally the sticks were discarded after each game. But
after several years the sticks themselves became part of a camp ritual.
Each is made from wood, metal, or other found materials chosen to reflect
the journey. Other found objects are added to the sticks, and in some cases
markers are made for the players. Carving and adornment of the stick is
done during the evening, most often by the light of a campfire. The only
tools used are a pocketknife and a Leatherman.
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