Robert Bergman: Selected Portraits
October 15, 2009—January 4, 2010
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center is pleased to announce Robert Bergman: Selected Portraits, an exhibition of twenty-four large-scale color portraits of everyday people the artist photographed on the streets of various American cities from 1985 to 1997. The exhibition will be on view in the first floor Drawing and Painting Galleries.
Using a handheld 35mm camera and precisely integrated natural lighting, Bergman explores both the poignant expressions of each individual and the formal structures of their surroundings. As art historian Meyer Schapiro wrote, "Certain photographers-Robert Frank, as well as Robert Bergman, come to mind-discover, like the poets, otherwise ignored qualities of the person and environment, hidden moments of feeling, and present them to our entranced scrutiny-for our meditation."
Bergman's epic series of portraits documents the physical and spiritual manifestation of Americans at the approach of the millennium. Of this series Toni Morrison has written, "Occasionally there arises an event or a moment that one knows immediately will forever mark a place in the history of artistic endeavor. Robert Bergman's portraits represent such a moment, such an event. In all its burnished majesty his gallery refuses us unearned solace and one by one by one each photograph unveils us, asserting a beauty, a kind of rapture, that is as close as can be to a master template of the singularity, the community, the unextinguishable sacredness of the human race."
Robert Bergman (b. 1944, New Orleans) now divides his time between Minnesota and New York City. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring an essay by David Levi Strauss.
Organized by Phong Bui, P.S.1 Curatorial Advisor.
The exhibition is made possible by Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison. The accompanying publication is made possible by Agnes Gund.