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Surface Tension

Exhibition objects

Surface Tension

Contemporary Photographs from the Collection

September 15, 2009–June 13, 2010

Photographs are often perceived as transparent windows onto a three-dimensional world. Yet photographs also have their own material presence as physical objects. Contemporary artists who exploit this apparent contradiction between photograph as window and photograph as object are featured in Surface Tension.

The exhibition presents thirty works that play with the inherent tension between the flatness of the photograph and the often lifelike illusion of depth. Surface Tension highlights the ways in which artists use photographic and multimedia techniques to direct our attention to the physical surface of the photograph. Among the works featured are photographs that have been purposely scratched, burned, or painted on, as well as photograms made by placing objects directly on top of a sheet of photographic paper. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the permanent collection and features several recent acquisitions and other contemporary photographs never before shown at the Museum.