New York, NY… Over the course of a forty-year career, Conceptual artist and photographer Sarah Charlesworth (1947–2013) investigated pivotal questions about the role of images in our culture. “Sarah Charlesworth: Doubleworld” will be the first major survey in New York of the artist’s work to date, encompassing an innovative career that played a crucial role in expanding the possibilities of photography and establishing the medium’s centrality to contemporary art. The exhibition will include over fifty works from a rich and diverse oeuvre that pioneered an approach to dissecting and manipulating public imagery and shattering photographic conventions.
“Sarah Charlesworth: Doubleworld” will be on view June 24–September 20, 2015, on the New Museum’s Second Floor. The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director, and Margot Norton, Associate Curator.
Charlesworth’s influential body of work deconstructed the conventions of photography and gave emphasis to the medium’s importance in mediating our perception of the world. Her practice bridged the incisiveness of 1970s Conceptual art and the illuminating image-play of the later-identified “Pictures Generation.” She was part of a group of artists working in New York in the 1980s—which included Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons, among others—that plumbed the visual language of a culture marked by burgeoning media saturation and underscored the imprint of ubiquitous images on our everyday lives.
This exhibition at the New Museum will feature Charlesworth’s poignant series “Stills” (1980), a group of fourteen large-scale works rephotographed from press images that hauntingly depict people falling or jumping off of buildings. The installation of “Stills” at the New Museum marks the first time that the complete series will be displayed in New York and is presented alongside other key works by the artist: the groundbreaking series “Modern History” (1977–79), which pioneered photographic appropriation; the alluring and exacting “Objects of Desire” (1983–88) , which continues the artist’s trenchant approach to mining the language of photography; “Doubleworld” (1995), which probes the fetishism of vision in premodern art; and her radiant last series, “Available Light” (2012). The title of the exhibition is taken from one of her photographs, Doubleworld (1995), from the series of the same name, which presents two nineteenth-century stereoscopic viewing devices, each holding a stereophotograph depicting two women standing side by side. The continuous doubling of images in this work underscores the duplicitous role of the photograph as an alternate, optical universe and a stand-in for the physical world.
Sarah Charlesworth, Still Life with Camera, 1995. Cibachrome prints with mahogany frame. Diptych, 51 in x 81 in (129.5 cm x 205.7 cm). Courtesy the Estate of Sarah Charlesworth and Maccarone Gallery, New York Invested with rare precision and dedication, Charlesworth produced a body of work and a philosophy of art-making that reverberate and take on shifting significance with time, as new technologies emerge and our inexhaustible reservoir of images expands.