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

Unveiling Vesna

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Phillips preparators unwrap the first of several layers protecting the work. All photos: Amy Wike

Works for Vesna Pavlović‘s Intersections installation at the Phillips, Illuminated Archive, have just arrived at the museum. Here’s a first look at Untitled (Swiss Peasant art exhibition, 1957.4) (2014) as Phillips preparators open it up after arrival. See this and the rest of the works on the walls (and in the staircase!) starting May 22, and don’t miss Pavlović’s talk in the galleries Thursday evening.

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Preparators put on gloves to handle the final layer of unwrapping as Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenovic looks on.

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Vesna Pavlovic’s work Untitled (Swiss Peasant art exhibition, 1957.4) is unwrapped and ready for the gallery walls.

 

Jean Meisel in Klee’s Room

Once informally known as the Klee Room for the Paul Klee paintings that hung there in years past, a second-floor alcove in the Phillips house is now home to Washington artist Jean Meisel’s Intersections project, titled 50–65 Horizon Line. Meisel, who well recalls the space’s Klee period, has been visiting The Phillips Collection since the 1950s. The jewel-like alcove offers the perfect setting for more than 50 of the painter’s intimate, small-scale works, ranging from 1 1/2 inches to 6 inches. The landscape paintings are hung side by side so that their shared horizon line wraps around the room. The artist has produced hundreds of these serene watercolors since the 1970s.

Vivian Djen, Marketing Communications Editor