From the Bauhaus to the Bechers; a survey of more than 60 works explores the major trends and pictorial styles in Germany over a 50 year span, from ''New Vision'' and ''New Objectivity'' in the 1920's and 1930's, to their synthesis in ''Subjektive Fotografie'' in the 1950's, to the Bechers' unique blend of both in the 1960's and 1970's.
"German Photography, from the Bauhaus to the Bechers," is a survey of more than 60 works explores the major trends and pictorial styles in Germany over a 50 year span, from "New Vision" and "New Objectivity" in the 1920's and 1930's, to their synthesis in "Subjektive Fotografie" in the 1950's, to the Bechers' unique blend of both in the 1960's and 1970's. This rich tradition influenced photographic art across Europe and abroad, and its points of reference are evident in the work of many of today's most celebrated artist photographers, including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, and Candida Hofer.
German photography in the 1920's and 1930's evolved through two highly articulated but divergent approaches: the school of objectivity, and the school of experimental possibilities. The objective approach will be represented by the landscapes of Albert Renger-Patzsch and Werner Mantz; rare vintage plant studies by Karl Blossfeldt; stoic portraits by August Sander; and from Alfred Eisenstaedt, Marlene Dietrich in tuxedo, 1928. The experimental Bauhaus aesthetic will be highlighted by bird's eye views and photograms by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy; oblique and disorienting portraits by T. Lux Feininger; and a surreal Bauhaus theater production designed by Oscar Schlemmer and recorded by Irene Bayer. After World War II, "Subjektive Fotografie" grew out of the photographers' group FOTOFORM, and combined a scientific objectivity with abstraction. Viewiers will see the stylistic shift during this period in a surreal image of reflecting drops by Peter Keetman, a time exposure of a moving carousel at night by Toni Schneiders, and a negative print multiple exposure by Ludwig Windstosser. From the Bechers, who combined the objective seeing of the 1920's with interpretive presentation of the 1950's, the exhibition concludes with an early typology of "Preparation Plants" from 1966-76, two Ohio Steel Mills, as well as a grid of German house facades from 1989.
The Gallery hopes this show will shed light on the marvelous tradition of photography from Germany throughout the 20th Century, a tradition highlighted by the recent exhibition of Andrea Gursky at MOMA, the currently running exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art "Taken By Design-Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937-1971," and the forthcoming exhibition of Thomas Struth to open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in February, 2003.
Image: Alfred Eisenstaedt, Monks Along the River Arno, Florence, 1935
Laurence Miller Gallery
20 West 57th Street, New York, New York 10019