top of page

Summer Group Show: Make Light Of It

July 7–August 24, 2016

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY

Installation Views

Selected Works

New York, July 1, 2016 – Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition, Make Light of It, on view from July 7 through August 24, 2016. Featuring an ensemble of works by Robert Adams, Harry Callahan, Harold Edgerton, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Emmet Gowin, Paul Graham, Hai Bo, Peter Hujar, Robert Irwin, Ray Metzker, Claes Oldenburg/Coosje van Bruggen, Irving Penn, Kiki Smith, Alfred Stieglitz, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Henry Wessel, and Robert Whitman, the exhibition presents a multimedia exploration of light as both subject and medium.

From chiaroscuro rendered in early European paintings to contemporary minimalist installations composed of fluorescent tubes, artists across mediums have continuously embraced the visual and symbolic potential of light in its various representations. Innately, light plays an essential role in the photographic process, but practitioners of the medium have pushed the aesthetic and technical possibilities of this integral material to constitute both form and content in their work.

Seeking to subvert subject matter, Alfred Stieglitz's Equivalent, 1931 employs the metaphoric power of light to abstractly evoke emotional and experiential states. Other works on view, like William Eggleston's Greenwood, Mississippi, 1973 and Irving Penn's Bedside Lamp, New York, 2006, present more literal interpretations with depictions of light bulbs themselves. Robert Whitman's audiovisual pieces from the Soundies series expand upon this approach, complementing sonically evocative still images – a burning match, for example – with audio of the associative sounds and wall labels bearing matter-of-fact descriptions.

For Harold Edgerton, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Harry Callahan, light is an instrument of innovation and technical experimentation with the capacity to capture motion normally undetectable to the human eye (Golf Ball), record the effects of electromagnetism (Lightning Fields 216, 2009), and create calligraphic line drawings (Camera Movement on Flashlight, 1946-47). Alternatively, in Lee Friedlander's and Peter Hujar's self-portraits, light effectively serves as an element of wit.

Some works celebrate the natural radiance of atmospheric conditions, while others seek beauty in the artificially illuminated. Peter Hujar captures the frenetic glimmer of New York City's nocturnal skyline, and in Night Walk, Henry Wessel records residential Los Angeles homes that have been converted to stage-like realms of spotlight and shadow by the nighttime glow.

For more information about Make Light of It or press requests, please contact Margaret Kelly at Pace/MacGill at 212.759.7999 or For general inquiries, please email

bottom of page