Academic journal article Afterimage

Robert Heinecken: Object Matter

Academic journal article Afterimage

Robert Heinecken: Object Matter

Article excerpt

Robert Heinecken: Object Matter

Edited by Eva Respini/The Museum of Modern Art/2014/ 188 pp./$50.00 (hb)

In her catalog essay, curator Eva Respini frames Robert Heinecken's work within the historical contexts of Dada and surrealism and also alongside some of the shared concerns of his pop and conceptual art contemporaries. Looking at the beautifully reproduced illustrations in this new exhibition catalog (published on the occasion of Heinecken's most comprehensive solo exhibition--and the first since his death in 2006--at the Museum of Modern Art), it's easy to see the connections. Heinecken's frequent use of found imagery and his striking juxtapositions and reconfigurations of it are fruitful extensions of 1920s and '30s avant-garde practices (he cites Marcel Duchamp's readymades as an influence), and his utilization of materials culled from popular culture complement Andy Warhol's soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein's comic strips. Heinecken's primary medium was photography, though; or rather, his raw material was photographic imagery--mostly found--and his work centered on ever-expanding considerations of photography as an art, moving it off the wall, giving it dimension, complicating its indexical nature.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Heinecken questioned not only how photography is positioned within the art world but also how images are circulated and received in the broader culture. As MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry points out in his forward, Heinecken thought of himself as a "paraphotographer." He rarely touched a camera; instead, he primarily worked with existing photographic imagery, taken from magazines (fashion, women's, pornographic, news), unprocessed exposed negatives of female nudes produced as darkroom practice rolls for amateur photographers, and from television (exposing Cibachrome paper directly on a television screen). …

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