The Art Institute of Chicago is organizing the first American solo museum exhibition of photographer Christopher Williams for 2014, to be curated by Matthew Witkovsky. After appearing Feb. 14–May 25 in Chicago, it will travel to the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Dates for New York are not yet established.
Williams, who lives and works in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Amsterdam and is represented by David Zwirner Gallery, has had solo exhibitions at numerous European museums and has been the subject of cover articles in publications including Artforum and Frieze. Writing in Parkett in 2006, MoMA curator Christian Rattemeyer discussed Williams’s deployment of his medium toward a broad purpose, concluding that photography ultimately “serves for Williams as the programmatic example through which one can revise thinking about the conditions of our modern industrial society.”
Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Williams is deeply influenced by Conceptual art, having attended the California Institute of the Arts under instructors including John Baldessari and Douglas Huebler. He creates very few images, and often appropriates them from sources like magazine covers. His production frequently resembles outtakes from industrial or fashion photo shoots, sometimes with color bars visible. Though the photographs, of a camera or a model, can appear documentary, show titles such as “For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Societé Industrielle” frame his work as a more ambitious commentary.
Williams’s work is currently on view in New York at David Zwirner Gallery’s group show “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird” (through Aug. 3). He’s also currently included in “Poule!” at the Fundación/Colección Jumex, Ecatepec, Mexico (through Sept. 14), “Fremde überall/Foreigners everywhere: Contemporary Art from the Pomeranz Collection” at the Jewish Museum, Vienna (through Oct. 7), and “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s” at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (through Sept. 30). His work will be in the group show “Ghosts in the Machine,” at the New Museum in New York (July 17–Oct. 7).
An earlier version of this article reported, based on information from the Art Institute of Chicago, that the exhibition was traveling to the Tate.
UPDATE: “Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness” is co-organized with New York’s Museum of Modern Art. MoMA’s Roxana Marcoci is co-curator, along with Mark Godfrey of Tate Modern, London. The exhibition will be on view in New York Aug. 2-Nov. 2. It will travel to the Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Polaroid 660 [promotional non functional] with completely transparent plastic housing. Produced for promotional use for display and demonstration purposes. Lens: 116mm f/11, single-element plastic Automatic focus; uses Polaroid Sonar AF system. Minimum focus: 3ft. Electronic shutter: range 1/4-1/200 sec. programmed automatic exposure system; built-in electronic flash, with automatic flash, exposure for all pictures. Camera was introduced 1981 with an original product price of $95.00 and worked with the Polaroid 600 Film family which all have the following characteristics in common: ASA 600 film speed, self-developing, packaged 10 prints to a pack including a self-contained battery to power camera. Actual image area: 3 1/8″ x 3 1/8″ [7.9 x 7.9] Fotostudio Axel Gnad, Düsseldorf February 09, 2009
2009, archival pigment print on cotton rag paper, Framed: 33 5/8 x 37 1/8 inches (85.4 x 94.3 cm), edition of 10 + 4 APs