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The University Art Museum presents:
Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence
January 25 – April 17, 2005
Artist’s reception:  Saturday, February 26, 4-6pm
Exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the Aperture Foundation. Available now at the UAM.


Candida Höfer, "Palacio Real
Madrid XI", 2000 on view during January/
February at the University Art Museum.

The University Art Museum is pleased to present German artist Candida Höfer in her first United States retrospective. Candida Höfer:  Architecture of Absence will be on view from January 25 to April 17, 2005. Ms. Höfer will make a personal appearance at the UAM on  Saturday, February 26, for a special “meet the artist” reception. The exhibition includes fifty photographs and is accompanied by a seminal  catalogue published by the Aperture Foundation, which includes essays by Constance W. Glenn, Emeritus Director of the University Art  Museum; Mary-Kay Lombino, Curator of Exhibitions at the University Art Museum; and Virginia Heckert, William and Sarah Ross Sofer Curator of Photography at the Norton  Museum of Art.   

For over thirty years, Candida Höfer has been photographing rooms in public places that are centers of cultural life, such as libraries, museums, theatres, cafés, universities, and historic houses and palaces.  Among the unique aspects of Höfer’s work is the fact that typically the people who would inhabit these spaces are absent, thus enabling her to discover in the spaces what she describes as an “almost magical  presence of things.” The University Art Museum is pleased to present Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence, the artist’s first retrospective in the United States, in conjunction with the Norton Museum of  Art, West Palm Beach, Florida. The monograph Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence, published by the Aperture Foundation, New York, will accompany the exhibition. This is the first major Englishlanguage publication devoted to Höfer’s work. It features a collection of fifty color photographs, which embraces the full spectrum of her illustrious career with an emphasis on new work made over the past  two years. The book and accompanying exhibition mark the most significant North American exposure to date for this celebrated German artist.   

In looking at Höfer’s work, the viewer can revel in the exquisite detail of her meticulously composed  images, which are infused with the richness and vibrancy of implied human activity. Whether they display symmetrical bookshelves at a national library or the lobby of a trendy hotel, Höfer’s images ask us to  conduct a distanced examination through the window she has created. Moved by the uncommonly beautiful aspects of her depiction of interior architecture, one becomes intensely aware of a precisely conceived environment imbued with light and order. Seen as a group, her rhythmically patterned images present a universe of interiors wholly constructed by human intention, unearthing the patterns of order,  logic, and disruption imposed on these spaces by their now absent creators and inhabitants.   

The New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman writes, “Ms. Höfer is a straight photographer whose humanity and improvisatory spirit come across if we are patient enough to appreciate the  serendipity of her light, the subtlety of her color and the quiet, melancholy pleasure she seems to take in finding, as if almost by chance, poetry in institutional form.”   

Candida Höfer is the senior member of the Becher circle, the first class of students—including Thomas  Ruff, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, and Axel Hütte—to study at the Dusseldorf Academy under the tutelage of renowned professor Bernd Becher in the 1970s and 1980s. The work that emanated from the  academy, considered the most influential German art school of the time, and Becher’s classes, soon took the art-photography world by storm. Since 1975, she has had solo exhibitions in galleries and museums  throughout Europe and the United States, including the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany; the Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; the Centre Photographique d’lle de France; Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco;  Johen & Schottle, Cologne; and Sonnabend Gallery, New York. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Kunsthaus Bregenz; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and  Documenta 11.  She recently represented Germany at the Venice Biennale (together with the late Martin Kippenberger) and is represented by many galleries in Europe and the United States.   

The accompanying hardcover publication, Candida Höfer: Architecture of  Absence, is the first major English-language examination of Höfer’s work. The publication features over 50 color plates and three insightful, illustrated essays  by Constance W. Glenn, Emeritus Director of the University Art Museum; Mary-Kay Lombino, Curator of Exhibitions at the University Art Museum; and  Virginia Heckert, William and Sarah Ross Sofer Curator of Photography at the Norton Museum of Art, who place Höfer’s work in critical context and compare  and contrast it to the work of her mentors, Bernd and Hilla Becher, as well as her fellow students, and those artists whose work influenced or inspired them.

Mungo Thomson: Centric 65
Alice Könitz: Centric 66
November 2-December 19, University Art Museum
Artists’ reception, Saturday, November 6, Noon to 2 pm
Annual Symposium: “Let’s Get Metalphysical:  Contemporary Art and Spirituality”
Annual Zeitlin Lecture:  Alex Melamid
Saturday, November 6, 2004, 2:30 To 7 pm

The UAM is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by German-born, Los Angeles-based artist, Alice Könitz. Könitz will create a site-specific installation for Centric 66, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. The exhibition includes sculptures, collages, and a video projection, which together address issues of sunlight and sculpture in architecture. Like many of the best young sculptors in Los Angeles, Könitz uses the medium to investigate the relation between actual space and represented space, to diagram and coordinate these different but complexly related kinds of space.

Alice Könitz, "Untitled (figure)", 2004,
wood/glue/wig, 68 x 39 x 30 inches.
Developing what could be seen as an idiosyncratic vocabulary of materials (vinyl, cardboard, Plexiglas, plywood, and fabric) and concerns (architecture, chance, theatrical staging, and reflected light), Könitz stages her formal investigations in order to allow her work to resonate poetically.

Alice Könitz: Centric 66 will feature a large-scale, free-standing wooden sculpture in the center of the main gallery. This centerpiece, which is clad in mirrored and transparent Plexiglas, is placed below the skylight and reflects four collage works that are installed directly onto the vaulted walls that lead to skylight.  Each collage—in bright yellow, red, and orange—is an abstraction of the sun. In addition, another sculpture, a faceted figure made of geometric wooden shapes, faces the center of the room and serves as a stand-in for the viewer and the artist herself. In an adjacent gallery Könitz’s new video will feature actors wearing costumes and masks hand-made by the artist. The characters move slowly through a shallow lake as they communicate with one another using rays of sunlight and mirrors. An investigation into the relationship between the viewer, sculpture, and film as well as the play of light within its spatial context, this group of diverse works is an expression of the artist’s fascination with the built environment in nature and offers a reinterpretation of the UAM gallery space. This exhibition will be accompanied a free exhibition brochure complete with illustrations and a critical essay by UAM Curator of Exhibitions Mary-Kay Lombino.

Alice Könitz was born in 1970 in Essen, Germany. She received an MFA from Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in 1996. In 1997 she was awarded the DAAD, a yearlong fellowship to study in the United States and she was the recipient of the Förderpreis zum Ruhrpreis, a prominent prize for emerging artists. That year she came to the United States to enroll in graduate studies at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California where she received a second MFA in 1999. Könitz’s work has been featured in one-person exhibitions at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; boom editions, Chicago; Hudson and Franklin, New York; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Chicago Project Room, Los Angeles; Center for Land Use Interpretation, Wendover, Utah; and Luis Campaña Gallery, Cologne. Her group exhibitions include the MAK Center for Art & Architecture at the Schindler House, Los Angeles; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles; Galerie Michael Hall, Vienna, Austria; The London Institute, London; Guggenheim Gallery of the Chapman University in Orange County; Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles; Mark Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles; and Bärbel Grässlin Gallery, Frankfurt among others. Her work has been published in International Paper: Drawings by Emerging Artists, an exhibition catalogue published by UCLA Hammer Museum in 2003 as well as in such publications as Artforum, art on paper, artnet, Artext, Contemporary, Flashart, I-D Magazine, Frieze, Los Angeles Times, and LA Weekly. Könitz currently lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

The Alice Könitz exhibition is sponsored in part by Goethe-Institut, Los Angeles; Rebecca and Alexander C. Stewart; Kenneth L. Freed; Susanne Veilmetter Los Angeles Projects; Bess J. Hodges Foundation; Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibitions and Education Programs; and CSULB Instructionally Related Activites Fund.


Mungo Thomson, Cinema Concepts,
2003, installation shot.
This fall the UAM is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Los Angeles-based artist Mungo Thomson. The 65th exhibition in the Centric program, an on-going exhibition series dedicated to displaying new work and introducing emerging national and international artists to new audiences. Mungo Thomson's work in a variety of media utilizes mass cultural vernacular to explore the phenomenology of social space and the mechanics and poetics of reception. Thomson's Centric exhibition will include two new 35mm film projects and a new multi–channel video installation, each preoccupied with the history and practices of Hollywood film production and movie going. Also on view will be a new sound project exploring the practical social context of minimalist art. Centric 65 will include a sound installation culled from Thomson's ongoing audio project entitled The Bootleg Series. This series consists of ambient field recordings of art exhibitions, opening receptions, and other art-related social functions.

The Bootleg Series, Volumes 5-7: Beyond a Singular Future is an audio recording of the ambience of 2004's much-touted (and simultaneous) Minimalist Art surveys: Singular Forms at the Guggenheim Museum; A Minimal Future? at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Beyond Geometry at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Thomson's bootlegs attempt to capture the fabled "aura" of minimalist art and the mechanics and poetics of contemporary institutional art viewing. Thomson's 35-millimeter film Cinema Concepts (2003), shown here as a DVD projection, is a compilation of 30 spliced-together theater announcement trailers purchased from the inventory of Atlanta-based theatrical films company Cinema Concepts. The program covers fire safety, theater etiquette, concessions promotion, crying babies, coming attractions and litter control in a variety of graphic and animation styles. In Cinema Concepts Thomson extends the initial moments at the movies that both cast the spell of cinema and codify behavior to ensure that the spell is not broken. In doing so he presents his own movie that is at once entertaining and agonizing. The anticipated feature never arrives, and Cinema Concepts becomes a meditation on the spaces of anticipation, contemplation, amusement, and delay within consumer entertainment culture.

The Swordsman (2004), a new 35mm film project transferred to DVD, portrays legendary Hollywood "sword master" Bob Anderson expertly throwing a prop sword to an actor off screen. The Swordsman is an inversion of the famous moment in a sword fight when a character finds himself unarmed and is thrown a sword from off screen—from another character via editing, but in fact from a professional sword master—he catches it, and resumes fighting. Bob Anderson has provided sword training and stunt support for Hollywood films for over 60 years, and his filmography includes The Adventures of Robin Hood, Star Wars, and The Princess Bride to name a few. The Swordsman is a very brief film of what happens outside the action, outside the fictional space of a movie, outside the documented histories of film, and outside the film frame itself. Finally, New York, New York, New York, New York (2004) is a new multi-channel immersive video installation. What appears to be four wall-size projections of empty New York City streets is in fact footage shot by the artist on the "New York City" stage at each of Los Angeles' major studio backlots. Together these works cement Thomson's taste for backgrounds, empty spaces, sidebars, and holding patterns.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a three-part catalogue published by the UAM in conjunction with the UAM sponsored presentation of Thomson’s work at the VIII Bienal Internacional de Cuenca, which took place in Ecuador in Spring 2004. Thomson's first monograph, this fully illustrated catalogue features essays by Rachel Kushner, Jan Tumlir, Matthew Higgs, and UAM Curator of Exhibitions Mary-Kay Lombino and is available at the Museum.

Mungo Thomson received an MFA from UCLA in 2000 and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 1994. His work has been exhibited internationally in shows at California College of Arts/Wattis Institute in San Francisco, MAMCO in Geneva, Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna, and TENT.CBK in Rotterdam. Thomson has recently participated in group exhibitions at Sculpture Center, Artists Space, and Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York City, at Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco, More Fools in Town in Turin, and at Studio Voltaire in London. His work will also be on view this fall at OR Gallery in Vancouver, in the 2004 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, in the exhibition 100 Artists See God, curated by John Baldessari and Meg Cranston for Independent Curators International, at Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach and the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in London. Thomson has also published essays on art and artists in Afterall, BOMB, and Parkett and curated art projects for Open City. Thomson is represented by Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, and John Connelly Presents, New York.

The UAM would like to thank Margo Leavin Gallery, EPSON America, Inc., and The Odyssey Program at CSULB for their generous support of Mungo Thomson: Centric 65. The UAM is supported by the Bess J. Hodges Foundation, Constance W. Glenn Fund for Exhibitions & Education Programs, and CSULB Instructionally Related Activities Fund.



This fall the UAM is holding the fifth annual symposium, Let's Get Metaphysical: Contemporary Art and Spirituality. This program will be followed with a lecture by Russian born, New York-based conceptual artist Alex Melamid, in which he will discuss his unique relationship to religion.

The participants of this symposium, Let’s Get Metaphysical, will examine the ways in which the proliferation of non-traditional and informal forms of spiritual practices is addressed by contemporary artists. The New Age movement has many sub-divisions, but it is generally a collection of Eastern-influenced metaphysical thought systems, a conglomeration of theologies, hopes, and expectations held together with eclectic teachings and goals towards general “feel-goodism.” New Age philosophies, which can encompass anything from mysticism and psychic phenomena to earnest efforts to move towards self-actualization through an increased self-awareness, is often ridiculed as mock religion or cultish superstition. Beyond the massive walls of self-help books on display in every Borders bookstore across the country and the Psychic Network, now available through every local cable company, New Age points to a shift in the ways we think about spirituality and has become the subject of cultural curiosity. Many contemporary artists have begun to incorporate the attitudes and concepts of this new sense of spirituality in their work in a variety of ways. Interestingly, not only are all of these artists engaging in a critique of this phenomenon, but some are finding that components of New Age spirituality can be utilized as tools to study our times on a larger social scale. This panel discussion will bring together four artists who will address these issues, as well as how spirituality and the New Age movement has influenced their practice or entered the subject matter of their work.

The facilitator for the symposium is Ralph Rugoff, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco and author of such inventive books as Circus Americanus, a collection of essays that explores the cyclone of visual artifacts whirling through American culture. With rare insight, Rugoff, a curator, writer, and art critic, studies and illuminates the unexpected visual spectacles found in contemporary culture. The panel includes AA Bronson, Anne Collier, Meg Cranston, and Mungo Thomson, all artists whose work deals with ideas of spirituality, religion, or mysticism. With a mix of irreverence, sincerity, humor, and audacity, the artists on the panel will tackle difficult questions about the role that spirituality plays in everyday life today. Often inspired by recent political developments that have led to a public examination of the notion of religion, some of their works are cheerfully provocative while others are more intimate and inspired by their own personal relationship to the spiritual realm.

The Fall 2004 Zeitlin Lecture will be given by Russian-born, New York-based conceptual artist Alex Melamid, discussing iconic images of art as religion and his unique relationship to the realm of religion. Born and raised in Moscow under Communism, Melamid was free from the religious presupposition of a faith-based background. When he moved to the United States in 1978, he arrived at the academic core of the philosophical tradition, which had proclaimed the death of God, following Nietzsche, and he sought out new expression of faith, hope, and the spiritual life. In recent years, Alex Melamid has been considering the notion of art as a form of religion, or indeed as a religion in itself. During his years of participation and interaction with the art world, Melamid has noticed a paradigm shift and an elevation in the attitudes of the public towards the world of art, and by extension, the world of artists. He has found the similarities between the structure of the Judeo-Christian tradition and that of the world of Western art to be striking. For Melamid, the theological artistic question implied by this theory is vast. In his lectures he examines such questions as, does art contain an innate healing power? The quest to answer such questions seeks to understand not only the art world of the present, but also that of the future, for critic, artist, and audience alike.

Inaugurated in 2000, Contemporary Discovery is a free program, open to the public. We encourage students, faculty, and community members to attend and participate in the lively discussion. Each year the University Art Museum brings together a group of panelists and one facilitator to discuss a topic that relates to our programming as well as current events in the art world and beyond.

August 24 – October 10, 2004
Public Reception, September 12, 1-3pm

The UAM Diaries: 1973-2004 The Glenn Years is a tribute to retiring University Art Museum’s founding director Constance W. Glenn. The exhibition highlights selected innovative projects that, together, paint a vivid picture of the museum’s history. The centerpiece of the UAM Diaries is the re-creation of the museum’s landmark 1977 show, George Segal: Pastels 1957-1965, the renowned artist’s first museum presentation of works on paper.

In addition, a number of exhibits that the UAM has traveled to museums throughout America, including The Great American Pop Art Store: Multiples of the Sixties; Time Dust, James Rosenquist; The Complete Graphics 1962-1992; Frederick Sommer at Seventy-Five: A Retrospective; and Lucas Samaras: Photo-Transformations will be highlighted with the return to the UAM of selected works from these projects.

Andy Warhol, "Silver Clouds", helium-filled
silver Mylar sacks, Installation view, UAM,
The Great American Pop Art Store:
Multiples of the Sixties
, 1997.

Also featured, will be important gifts to the collection, including works from the Hampton Collection, comprise 88 mid-century abstract paintings. In all, more than 80 works of art by some fifty artists, ranging from Charles Arnoldi, John Baldessari, Russell Crotty, Jim Dine, Eric Fischl and David Hockney to Graciela Iturbide, Lee Krasner, Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Roy Lichtenstein, Lorna Simpson, and Andy Warhol, will crowd the galleries in a rare opportunity to see images spanning the museum’s 32-year life span.

Cal State Long Beach President Robert Maxson will host a public celebration in Glenn’s honor on Sunday, September 12, 2004, 1 - 3 pm. The brunch is free of charge and open to all. Please respond with acceptances only to 562.985.1688 by September 2.

Connie Glenn will give an informal talk in the galleries on the UAM DIARIES: 1973 TO 2004 THE GLENN YEARS

Hosted by Cal State University President Robert Maxson, Sunday, September 12, 2004, 1-3 pm. Free, open to public. Please respond with acceptances only to 562.985.1688 by September 2.

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