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Picturing America: The Deutsche Guggenheim presents Photorealism in the 1970s


Berlin, The Deutsche Guggenheim, a joint venture of Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, presents Picturing America: Photorealism in the 1970s, March 7 to May 10, 2009. The exhibition is the first major showing of American Photorealism in Germany since the documenta 5 in 1972, over thirty years earlier.

By the end of the 1960s, a number of young artists working in the United States had begun making large-scale realist paintings directly from photographs. With often meticulous detail, they portrayed the objects, places, and people that defined urban and suburban daily life in America. They had in common with the Pop artists an interest in producing figurative paintings depicting contemporary, quotidian subject matter; however, they did not present their ubiquitous, often mundane, themes in a glamorized or ironic manner. They instead sought to achieve a great degree of objectivity and precision in the execution of their work in an effort to stay more or less faithful to the mechanically generated images that served as their source material.

Picturing America focuses on the development and refinement of these defining aspects of Photorealism during the formative decade of the 1970s. The exhibition includes thirty-two paintings and ten works on paper, among them a number of the most iconic and masterful examples, for example Richard Estesís Telephone Booths (1967) and Chuck Closeís Leslie (1973), as well as works by Robert Bechtle, Charles Bell, Tom Blackwell, Robert Cottingham, Don Eddy, Audrey Flack, Franz Gertsch, Ralph Goings, Ron Kleemann, Richard McLean, Malcolm Morley, Stephen Posen, John Salt, Ben Schonzeit, and Paul Staiger.

The exhibition in Berlin is divided into four sections, three exploring key themes of Photorealist painting during this period: Reflections on the City, Culture of Consumption, and American Life and a fourth dedicated to a portfolio of lithographs made on the occasion of documenta 5.

Picturing America is being organized by Valerie L. Hillings, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue in German and English, with text by Valerie Hillings, Linda Chase, and David M. Lubin at a price of 28 Euros.
Edition No. 46 is Picturing America (the album), 2009, an artist book in the form of a family photo-album, with found material, visual works and text contributions by Robert Bechtle, Tom Blackwell, Chuck Close, Robert Cottingham, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings, Ron Kleeman, John Salt and Ben Schonzeit. These personal memories of the 1970s appear in a partially signed edition of 50 copies/ 35 A.P. that are exclusively available at the Deutsche Guggenheim SHOP.

Picturing America is accompanied by an extensive supporting program initiated by the Artistís Panel with Robert Bechtle, Tom Blackwell, Audrey Flack and Ben Schonzeit in a conversation with Linda Chase and Valerie Hillings. The series is continued by a discussion between the former gallerist Hannes von Goesseln and Michael S. Cullen, and lectures by Dr. Wolfgang Becker and David Lubin that provide new and interesting insights into the exhibition. Children and youths can try out their talent in special workshops. Guided tours are offered free of charge everyday at 6 p.m. The popular Lunch Lectures on Wednesdays at 1 p.m., as well as the established Brunch Lectures on Sundays at 11:30 a.m., which focus on specific topics of the exhibition, complete the range of possible art encounters.

Photo material can be directly downloaded from the Internet at

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