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Barbara Kasten: Scenarios

Oct 16, 2020-Apr 4, 2021

For over forty years, Barbara Kasten has created photographs and sculptural installations that play with our sense of perception and explore the interplay of light, shadow, color, and form. Kasten (b. 1936, lives and works in Chicago) is best known for abstract photographs that she has made since the 1970s, in which she investigates the mechanics of photography and the visual experience of constructed space. Important influences on Kasten’s work include the modernist architecture of her native city of Chicago, Constructivism, and the interdisciplinary approach of the Bauhaus school, in particular the work of László Moholy-Nagy.

In recent years, Kasten has worked increasingly with video projections and acrylic forms, creating vibrant installations that combine sculpture and video to explore the three-dimensional, architectural space that was the hallmark of her earlier photographic work. The AAM exhibition Scenarios celebrates Kasten’s expansive body of sculptural non-photographic work, through which the artist extends her exploration of spatial constructions into the viewers’ space and experience.

Among the works in the AAM exhibition will be examples from Kasten’s recent series Progressions (2017 onward), in which the artist affixes fluorescent acrylic shapes to the surfaces of her face-mounted photographs, creating a colorful and dynamic interplay between the sculptural relief elements and the acrylic forms depicted in her photographs. The site-specific work Elevation, installed outside of the galleries, interacts with AAM architect Shigeru Ban’s exterior grid of the woven slats that wrap around the museum. Scenarios will also mark the first museum exhibition in the United States to include three of the artist’s ambitious video installations, making it the most comprehensive presentation of Kasten’s non-photographic work to date.

This exhibition is curated by Max Weintraub, AAM Curator at Large.

AAM exhibitions are made possible by the Marx Exhibition Fund. General exhibition support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Visiting Artist Fund. Additional support is provided by the AAM National Council.

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