Picturing the Sublime

Prepare to be awed. Picturing the Sublime: Photographs from the Joseph and Charlotte Lichtenberg Collection is now open. Here’s just a taste, but be warned: these photos reveal much more when viewed up close. For a smaller show (eleven works in total), I’m surprised by the range in content—there’s everything from the raw and untouched beauty of Richard Misrach‘s deserts to Edward Burtynsky‘s landscapes, so altered by human activity that I almost feel guilty calling them beautiful. The exhibition is on view through January 13, 2013, and on November 15 exhibition curator Susan Behrends Frank discusses the photographers and their works in a Curator’s Perspective.

Amy Wike, Publicity and Marketing Coordinator

Entrance to the exhibition Picturing the Sublime

Photo: Amy Wike

Image of three photographs featured in the Picturing the Sublime exhibition

Left to right: (1) Lynn Davis, Iceberg XI, Disko Bay, Greenland, 2004 (2) Carleton Watkins, Lower Yosemite Fall, 418 Feet, 1865-66 (3) Richard Misrach, Battleground Point #5, 1999. Photo: Amy Wike

Shrinking Giants

Image of Edward Burtynsky's Oil Spill #2

Can it translate? Edward Burtynsky, Oil Spill #2, Discoverer Enterprise, May 12, 2010, 2010. Chromogenic print.

According to Wired.com’s Raw File blog, Edward Burtynsky‘s massive photos from his Oil series, often overwhelming in scale, will now be available in an (itty bitty by comparison) iPad version. Raw File’s Jakob Schiller asks a good question: “How would these prints translate to a backlit viewing platform smaller than a sheet of office paper?”

The answer, at least according to Schiller, is mixed. Though the iPad version may lose some of the drama and awe, interviews, videos, and maps enhance the experience in a way that might be missed on a gallery wall.

But isn’t Schiller’s question just a variation on the same one we’ve been asking ourselves since works of art started populating digital platforms? It’s my personal opinion that, rather than something being taken away, online versions of any work of art make the face-to-face interaction with the piece all the more compelling and meaningful.

You don’t have to agree with me. Examples of Burtynsky’s giant photos will be featured in Picturing the Sublime: Photographs from the Joseph and Charlotte Lichtenberg Collection, on view at the Phillips Oct. 11, 2012–Jan. 13, 2013. Bring your iPad and make the comparison.

Amy Wike, Publicity & Marketing Coordinator