Christopher Phillips gave a guided tour at the gallery of Stan Douglas: DCTs and Scenes from the Blackout. The exhibition presented works from Douglas’s two recent series, DCT (2016–ongoing) and Blackout (2017), that together illustrate the artist’s overarching interest in the nature of photographic representation and its relationship to reality.
Friday, April 6, 5 PM
525 West 19th Street, New York
Christopher Phillips is guest curator at The Walther Collection and adjunct professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He contributed a text to Stan Douglas: Midcentury Studio, published on the occasion of Douglas’s tenth solo presentation at David Zwirner in 2011.
This guided tour coincided with The Photography Show presented by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD).
February 16, 2018
Anthology Film Archives in New York showed Stan Douglas’s early works Television Spots (1987–1988) and Monodramas (1991) as part of a new screening series called ON THE AIR: ARTIST TELEVISION.
Curated by Rebecca Cleman from Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and Ava Tews at Anthology Film Archives, the February 16 program of ON THE AIR presents works created by artists for public television, and also includes films by Ernie Kovacs, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Chris Burden, Dara Birnbaum, and others. The series is being presented in conjunction with the exhibition Broadcasting: EAI at ICA at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (February 2–March 25, 2018).
Douglas’s Television Spots were originally made to be inserted in fifteen- to thirty-second-long slots between the advertisements on a private Canadian television network. The twelve short video sequences were shown on a nightly basis and without any introduction, and feature narrative fragments unfolding in ordinary or banal settings. Similarly, the artist’s Monodramas feature brief, dislocated events—a car and a school bus nearly collide at an intersection, only to drive away; a pedestrian on the street greets an Afro-Canadian man who responds, "I’m not Gary."
As the artist told Roxana Marcoci in an interview after winning the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2016, "Early projects like the Television Spots and Monodramas were all about an alienation effect, putting an irritant into broadcast television by means of these counterfeit advertisements to make people look at the context around the ads in a different way."
Image: Stan Douglas, still from Monodramas, 1991
Stan Douglas was the recipient of the 2016 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. In celebration of the honor, an exhibition of Douglas's work was presented at the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden. The exhibition was his first in the country and featured new abstract works, as well as an overview of past series and key iconic photographs.
In addition, MACK published a new book about Douglas's practice. The publication features a newly commissioned essay by Noam Elcott, Associate Professor at Columbia University, as well as an interview with Stan Douglas by Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator at Museum of Modern Art, New York and Chair of the 2016 Hasselblad Award Jury.
Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator of Photography at MoMA, New York and Chair of the 2016 Hasselblad Award Jury, says of Douglas's work:
Douglas's engagement with the histories of still and moving images, sociological approach to staged and performative work, and critical attention to the apparatus of photography—in terms of historic styles, processes and vintage equipment, and the most sophisticated digital languages of contemporary technology—are transformational.
Pictured above: Selected works from the Hasselblad exhibition
Stan Douglas's innovative stage presentation Helen Lawrence was created in collaboration with screenwriter and producer Chris Haddock and director Kim Collier. Inspired by post-war Film Noir, Helen Lawrence intertwines theatre, visual art, live-action filming and computer-generated recreations of historical backgrounds in a groundbreaking multi-media showcase.
Since the inaugural presentation at The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver in March 2014, Helen Lawrence has been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and deSingel, Antwerp.
Douglas also created Circa 1948, an app that presents interactive digital environments from late 1940s Vancouver. These environments—The Hotel Vancouver and Hogan's Alley—are also settings in Helen Lawrence.
The artist discussed the app (and his practice generally) in The Guardian saying: "Because of technology, nobody believes any more that a photograph is real. But that just means that we have to take more responsibility as creators of images. We can’t just say, 'Oh, this happened to be there when I was there.' You have to take ownership. It’s always a construction, no matter what."