Photos and Phantasy: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation
Through December 10, 2006

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art
Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263
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Melanie Pullen, “Blue (Water Series)”, 2005, C-print.

Malibu, CA—The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University is pleased to present Photos and Phantasy: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, on view from September 16 through December 10, 2006.

Over the course of the 20th century, photography came to be seen as an increasingly creative medium which artists could use to alter, as well as capture, reality. With the rise of digital imagery, photo-based art has evolved into a dynamic means of manipulating, instead of merely documenting, what is real. This exhibition highlights the many diverse ways that fantasy and photographic technology inform contemporary art. Featuring photography, painting, sculpture, and installations from the 1950s to the present, it includes works by John Baldessari, Richard Ehrlich, Melanie Pullen, David Hockney, Joel Morrison, Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas Ruff, Annelies Strba, Andy Warhol, and John Waters, among others.

California native John Baldessari rose to prominence in the late 1960s by combining elements of Pop Art and Conceptual Art. He combined mass media imagery with an exploration of language to create a unique body of work that has become a hallmark of postmodern art. Baldessari’s art typically incorporates photos from advertising and movies. Through witty edits and juxtapositions, he infuses these recycled images with new narrative significance. The resulting works are layered in meaning, often humorous, and draw our attention to the coercive power of popular culture.
David Hockney, the British Pop Art painter, has long explored the potential of photography. Intrigued by the mechanism of vision, he turned to the camera to investigate the way we see the world and began to create photo-collages. Called “joiners” by the artist, these works combine dozens of separate photos of a subject, taken from different angles and vantage points, into a single composite image. These fascinating images present vision as an active, creative force.
Thomas Ruff is a German artist currently regarded as one of the most acclaimed and groundbreaking photographers working today. Since the 1970s, he has created starkly objective images of everyday objects—faces of friends, night skies, and architecture. Ruff believes that photography can only capture the surface of things, conveying what he describes as “the authenticity of a manipulated and prearranged reality.” His precise images of familiar subjects have a stark and uncanny aura.

Starting in the 1950s, Frederick Weisman began collecting a remarkable group of masterpieces of modern and contemporary American and European art. He demonstrated great vision by acquiring examples of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art long before these movements became popular. During Weisman’s lifetime, the collection was acclaimed as one of the most important private collections of modern art in the United States. Since his death, the Foundation has continued to collect work by new and young artists, fulfilling Weisman’s desire to leave a living legacy to the public.
Today his former residence, a historic Mission Revival home in Holmby Hills, displays a large portion of his collection. It is open to the public by appointment and maintained by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.

Family Art Day:  Saturday, October 14, from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Works are on view at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in the Gregg G. Juarez Gallery, West Gallery, and Ron Wilson–Designer Gallery.
This exhibition was organized by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation and curated by Billie Milam Weisman, director of the Foundation. Funding is provided by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.

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