Tod Papageorge: Passing Through Eden - Photographs of Central Park
April 3–May 12, 2007
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Tod Papageorge: Passing Through Eden - Photographs of Central Park on view April 3 - May 12, 2007. This is Papageorge's first solo exhibition of photographs in New York since 1985. A catalog of work from this series is forthcoming from Steidl.
Begun in the 1970s and continuing into the 1990s, Papageorge's photographic exploration focuses on the almost primeval character of Central Park and the nuanced relationship city dwellers and its visitors share with that space. In this series, lovers lie entwined, protestors congregate, dogs run, athletes sweat, women lounge on park benches and some even find isolation, peace.
Structured around the first six chapters of Genesis, Papageorge’s body of work does not attempt to illustrate the creation outright. Rather, his project conjures images reminiscent of the Bible’s elemental narrative. Central Park (or Eden) is created before his audience's eyes: Adam and Eve are formed, shamed and ultimately expelled, and Cain and Abel are wanderers through the Park's grass. Humanity itself is on display, full of tragedy, comedy and inflected with a sensibility unique to New York City.
John Szarkowski observed: “During the Seventies, when Papageorge began this work, the newspapers saw Central Park chiefly as the site of danger and outrage, and they were doubtless partly right. But the park shown here seems no more dangerous than life itself, and no less filled with beauty, charming incident, excess, jokes in questionable taste, unintended consequence, and pathos, truly described. One might say that no artist has done so much for this piece of land since Frederick Law Olmstead.”
Wandering the streets on daily photographic excursions alongside Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and Paul McDonough, Papageorge honed his instincts and learned how to anticipate the making of good pictures. His ability to isolate and make clear sense out of what he saw amidst the chaos of the moving city was practiced using a 35mm camera and later fine-tuned with larger-format cameras. Papageorge recognizes the value within the spontaneous moments unfolding in front of him and possesses the technical ability to capture and instill those events with poetry, humor and timeless meaning.
Papageorge has been a professor and director of the Yale School of Art since 1979. He has influenced countless students, many of whom have become eminent artists and teachers themselves, such as Gregory Crewdson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Anna Gaskell, Katy Grannan, An-My Lê and Abelardo Morell.
Papageorge’s work can be found in museums both in the United States and Europe including: The Art Institute of Chicago; The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; The Canadian Center of Architecture, Montreal; The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; The George Eastman House, Rochester; The Kunsthaus, Zurich; The Moderna Museet, Stockholm; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Next fall, Aperture will publish American Sports, 1970. This body of work was made during Papageorge’s travels across the country on a Guggenheim Grant and documents major national sporting events during the height of the Vietnam War.