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Past Exhibitions

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Cool Objectivity

Jan 10 – Aug 16 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

In an attempt to invent a modern photography free of painterly effect, German artists in the 1920s developed a cool, precisionist style called New Objectivity. Part of their new vision was to focus on modern or industrial architecture and design at a moment of great innovation. Their style became an influential benchmark that has helped to define a distinctively modern aesthetic. Especially since the 1980s, a number of contemporary artists have returned to architecture as a subject, sometimes approaching it with the detached view of the historian or archivist.

This installation from the Seattle Art Museum’s collection examines this trend through the works of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Louise Lawler, Candida Höfer, Doug Aitken, and others whose aesthetic visions are informed by Minimal Art and cinematography.

Image: Anonymous, 1991, Louise Lawler, American; b. 1947, Bronxville, USA, Cibachrome print, 54 1/2 x 40 3/4 in., Seattle Art Museum, Gift in honor of Virginia Wright, 98.17. © Louise Lawler.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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