Walead Beshty: Legibility on Color Backgrounds
Six Color Curl 2008 © Walead Beshty
Exhibition on view:
Directions—Walead Beshty: Legibility on Color Backgrounds
Thursday, April 30–Sunday, September 13, 2009
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Independence Avenue at Seventh Street SW
This spring, the Hirshhorn Museum presents Directions: Legibility on Color Backgrounds by the conceptual artist Walead Beshty, whose abstract images question the fundamental principles of modern art and the nature of photography. His mesmerizing photographs are mysterious and a product of his enduring fascination with modernist visual culture. He often works with historical formats, including stereographs and photograms, but he also makes use of more recent technologies, such as color processors and digital printers.
The fundamentals of this body of work are found in a camera-less process discovered by early twentieth-century artists László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, who produced unique, black-and-white prints by placing objects on photosensitive paper and then exposing them to light. Beshty re-invents this technique by making use of color processing and large-sale printers. He also curls or folds the photographic paper before exposing it to light, which creates luminous, elusive abstractions. His photograms are an aesthetic study and bring attention to the ways in which photography shapes our understanding of both history and the world around us.
Walead Beshty was featured in the Fall 2008 issue of Aperture magazine.