Art about Art: Contemporary Photographers Look at Old Master Paintings features contemporary artists who use photography and video to reimagine portraits and still lifes by early modern European artists, who are often called old masters by art historians. For example, Yasumasa Morimura finds inspiration for his theatrical self-presentations in portraits by Jan van Eyck, Diego Velázquez, and others. Vik Muniz and Nina Katchadourian toy with the artist’s toolbox, referencing well-known portraits by Renaissance and Baroque artists but using unexpected media to impart a sense of fun and whimsy to their images. Sharon Core, who meticulously grows her own horticultural specimens, and Bas Meeuws, who plays with scale and saturated color in his hyperrealistic photographs of flowers, draw on seventeenth-century Dutch floral imagery to delve into issues of picture-making and perception. Jeanette May investigates her anxiety about new technology and her love of obsolete machines in a carefully constructed jumble that recalls a Dutch tabletop still life. Ori Gersht ponders the relationship between beauty and violence by exploding three-dimensional versions of European still lifes. By exploring the various ways artists engage with the history of art, this exhibition showcases creative choices, artistic intent, and visual exchanges across time.
Curated by Ronni Baer, Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Distinguished Curator and Lecturer, with Peter H. Fox, curatorial associate, European art