New York, 536 West 22nd Street
The Modernist - photography series and related film—Opie’s first—offer a distinct narrative arc as they follow a fictional artist character on an arsonist spree across Los Angeles, targeting the city’s iconic modernist buildings. The 21:44 minute photo-roman is comprised of 852 black-and-white photographs, and builds off the formal legacy of Chris Marker’s revolutionary La Jetée (1962). A work that envisions memory, dystopia, and the postapocalyptic world through still photographs, Marker’s film is apt art historical inspiration for Opie’s observation on the volatility and disjoint in present day America.
Catherine Opie (b. 1961, Sandusky, OH; lives in Los Angeles) is known for her powerfully dynamic photography that examines the ideals and norms surrounding the culturally constructed American dream and American identity. She first gained recognition in the 1990s for her series of studio portraits titled Being and Having, in which she photographed gay, lesbian, and transgender men and women drawn from her circle of friends and artists. Opie has traveled extensively across the country exploring the diversity of America’s communities and landscapes, documenting quintessential American subjects.
Opie’s photographs create a level of ambiguity—of identity and place—by exaggerated masculine or feminine characteristics, or by the angle of the shot, cropping, and distorting her landscapes and spaces.
Exhibition is on view until January 12 , 2019