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Princeton University Art Museum Offers Look at New German Photography

Exhibition Dates: January 19 through March 24, 2002

PRINCETON -- "New German Photography," an exhibition on view from January 19 through March 24, 2002, at the Princeton University Art Museum, features fifteen photographic works made in Germany during the past two decades by such artists as Dieter Appelt, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth. The exhibition, organized by Toby Jurovics, associate curator of photography, is being presented in conjunction with "From Klinger to Kollwitz: German Art in the Age of Expressionism," which opens on January 29.

For the past several decades, most contemporary German photography has been created under the influence of Bernd and Hilla Becher, who have relentlessly explored the forms and constructions of industrial society, through hundreds of images of water towers, blast furnaces, mining apparatus, and similar structures. Their Cooling Towers Wood-Steel, which opens the exhibition, consists of nine photographs made between 1959 and 1977, exhibited in a grid that in its emphasis on similar forms masks the individual nuances of each tower.

Whether having studied formally with the Bechers, or simply working under their creative aegis, the other artists represented in the exhibition have refined the sense of austerity and remove that characterizes their mentors' work and expanded the range of exploration. Candida Höfer has made an elaborate study of the access and organization of public and private spaces. Two important new acquisitions, Deichmanske Bibliothek, Oslo and Palacio Real, Madrid I, contrast the carefully arranged stacks of a public research library with the atmosphere of history and privilege suggested by an elaborate hall in the Spanish Royal Palace. Thomas Ruff has made scores of portraits of anonymous young men and women, evenly lit and frontally posed, that reveal every one of his sitter's physical features and flaws while subduing all traces of personality and emotion. In a more playful vein, Andreas Gursky's 99 cent, on loan from a private collection, overwhelms the viewer with its life-size scale and over-saturated, hyper realistic inventory of the hundreds of items stacked in a convenience store. Beginning from similar premises of emotional neutrality and visual objectivity, the artists represented in "New German Photography" reveal a broad range of aesthetic and intellectual choices in their cataloguing of the shape and face of contemporary society.

The art museum is open to the public without charge. Free highlights tours of the collection are given every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Monday and major holidays. The Museum Shop closes at 5:00 p.m. The museum is located in the middle of the Princeton University campus. Picasso's large sculpture Head of a Woman stands in front. For further information, please call (609) 258-3788.