Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rodney McMillian, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung
California Museum of Photography
October 3, 2015 - January 2, 2016
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7pm
Saturday, November 14, 2015, 6pm - 9pm
Reproduction, Reproduction brings together work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rodney McMillian, and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung in an investigation of photographic reproduction. A free preview of the exhibition will be held on Thursday, October 1, with a gallery talk by Zuckerman-Hartung scheduled for 7pm.
A photograph is, at least in theory, infinitely reproducible. One copy is as good as the next. Provided the source material remains intact, limitless copies can be made, all of equal quality; the nine-hundredth iteration is no less true to the photograph than the very first. In art, however, photographs are almost always produced in conditions of artificial scarcity so that they can be sold in limited editions. This limitation helps guarantee the work’s value on the market, but operates against one essential character of the photographic medium.
Reproduction, Reproduction brings together the work of three artists who employ photographic reproducibility as the central concept of a work. They all engage images—photographs, news images, or book illustrations—to leverage photographic reproducibility against the logic of the art market’s limited edition print. It is worth noting that Gonzalez-Torres, McMillian, and Zuckerman-Hartung are not strictly photographers, but artists who usually make paintings, sculptures, or installations; this distance from art photography’s conventions allows them to employ reproduction in a different, and pointed, way.
The projects presented here aim to question the very meaning of reproduction by relating the reproduction of images to other resonances of the word, such as biological reproduction, in which the child inhabits the womb of the mother, and cultural reproduction, in which social institutions perpetuate norms from generation to generation. Taken together, the reproduction of images in these works becomes a complex allegory for the reproduction of the cultural status quo—in particular the perpetuation of racial, class, and gender hierarchies in American culture.
Reproduction, Reproduction is organized by the California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock and is curated by Joanna Szupinska-Myers, CMP Curator of Exhibitions. The exhibition is made possible in part by UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS) and the City of Riverside.
Image: Installation view, Rodney McMillian, Unknown, 2006, as seen in Agitated Histories, SITE Santa Fe, 2011-12. Photo by Eric Swanson. Courtesy of the artist; SITE Santa Fe; and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.