Giacometti at the Phillips, 1963

Vesna Pavlović’s Intersections work, Illuminated Archive (on view through September 28th), uses imagery from our 1963 exhibition Giacometti. That exhibition was years in the making and required many loans of large sculptural pieces which can be difficult to manage. Planned while Duncan Phillips was in his late 70s, his wife Marjorie played an active role in the securing of loans, writing many letters to museums as well as prominent collectors such as William and Babe Paley and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. Assisting with locating works in both public and private collections, the Pierre Matisse Gallery provided Marjorie Phillips with the lists below, which were thoroughly annotated as the exhibition planning proceeded.

Works by Albert Giacometti in public and private collections as listed by Pierre Matisse Gallery for the Phillips Collection.  The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington DC.

Works by Alberto Giacometti in public and private collections as listed by Pierre Matisse Gallery for The Phillips Collection. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington, DC.

The result was a beautiful and popular show. The Phillipses remarked that they were so pleased, they wished it could remain as a permanent part of the museum.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington DC.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington, DC.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington DC.

Giacometti exhibition, 1963. The Phillips Collection Archives, Washington, DC.

 

A Different Experience of Space

In this video, Intersections artist Vesna Pavlović discusses her recently installed work at the Phillips, Illuminated Archive. “In any typical museum setting, we’re used to seeing artworks on walls,” says Pavlović. “One of the pieces in the show is a 35-foot long sheer curtain with digitally transferred black and white imagery, which offers a different experience of space.”

Mining the Archives

Pavlovic_Phillips Flashback

(Left) Vesna Pavlović, Untitled (Swiss Peasant art exhibition, 1957.4), (2014). Courtesy of the artist and G Fine Art (Right) Vesna Pavlović, Installation view of Untitled (Annex, Giacometti exhibition, 1963), 2014. Photo: Mica Scalin

Intersections artist Vesna Pavlović, whose installation Illuminated Archive opened at the Phillips last week, mined the museum’s archival materials to create new works exploring the idea of transparency. The works above feature photographic negatives from exhibitions throughout Phillips history, altered in a variety of ways and to varying degrees.

What I love most about the work at right, a 35-foot curtain made up of digitally manipulated negatives from a 1963 Alberto Giacometti exhibition, is how necessary uncontrollable elements—weather, sunlight, time—are to the viewer experience. Pass by this work at high noon on a sunny day, and the curtain is nearly clear. Chance upon it at dawn or dusk, however, and the details of light and shadow are revealed. It feels like a secret, intimate moment shared between viewer and artwork; a playful approach to the idea of transparency and our perception of it.

Amy Wike, Marketing Manager