pressreleases

Thomas Kellner: The Boston Athenaeum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:     

Joyce Linehan (617) 282-2510 X 1, joyce[at]ashmontmedia.com
Kirsten Alexander, Boston Athenæum (617) 720-7654,               alexander[at]bostonathenaeum.org

THE BOSTON ATHENÆUM PORTRAYED IN AN EXHIBITION BY GERMAN PHOTOGRAPHER THOMAS KELLNER, FEB. 13 - APRIL 19, 2008

"ALL SHOOK UP: Thomas Kellner Photographs the Boston Athenæum" IS A BRAND NEW LOOK AT THE VENERABLE BEACON HILL ARCHITECTURAL ICON (BOSTON)

 

The Boston Athenæum presents an exhibition of photographs by German experimental photographer Thomas Kellner.  "All Shook Up" opens on Feb. 13 and runs through April 19, 2008, in the Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery at The Boston Athenæum, 10 1/2 Beacon Street on Beacon Hill, near the State House.

Admission is FREE and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Mondays 9 am - 8 pm, Tuesday through Friday 9 am - 5:30 pm and Saturday 9 am - 4 pm. 

For more information, call (617) 227-0270 or visit www.bostonathenaeum.org.

 

A Press preview with the artist, library director, and curator will be held Monday, Feb. 11 at 10 am. 
Please RSVP to (617) 282-2510 or joyce[at]ashmontmedia.com by Feb. 7

 

Known worldwide for his deconstructive/reconstructive architectural photographs, Kellner was invited to be the Athenæum's bicentennial artist-in-residence in 2006.  Kellner painstakingly takes multiple photographs of fragments of a single image, and then assembles the fragments into a new representation of the subject.  His subjects have included such architectural icons as the Eiffel Tower, London Tower Bridge, Arc de Triomphe, Stonehenge, and Golden Gate Bridge. Here, he turns to the Athenæum’s Registered National Historic Landmark building at 10 ½ Beacon Street as his subject. Kellner’s time at the Athenæum was spent sketching and photographing the striking interior of the Library for its 200th anniversary.  This exhibit showcases 16 large scale color photographs of the Athenæum with which Kellner begins his photographic studies, clearly illustrating his methodology.  Also on view are the artist’s notebook for the project and a portrait of the Library’s director, a rare instance of portraiture by this photographer.

 

The exhibition has an accompanying fully-illustrated catalog with an introductory essay by Boston Athenæum Director Richard Wendorf.  The catalog will be available for sale at the Athenæum for $20.

The exhibition and catalog have been generously supported by the Susan Morse Hilles Bicentennial Fund. The exhibition is curated by Sally Pierce, the Athenæum’s Curator of Prints and Photographs.

 

“During its first 200 years, the Athenaeum interior has been photographed by many distinguished Boston photographers, including Baldwin Coolidge, Thomas E. Marr, George M. Cushing, Richard Cheek, Peter Vanderwarker, and Shellburne Thurber,” says Ms. Pierce. “Thomas Kellner’s vision animates these interior spaces in a new way. The classical symmetrical rooms are ‘all shook up’ with light and energy.”With subversive irony, Kellner’s architectural photographs do not appear as the postcard-esque pictures of iconic monuments we carry in our minds, nor can they be seen as images documenting perfect form. His buildings are deconstructed into multiple fragments and reconstructed to assume an entirely new form. However, the ostensible interpretation of Kellner’s work as being cubistic-fragmentarian montages is too narrow. In fact, his art explores the history of the photography genre in a media-reflective way. Its essence lies in the fact that his large-scale color photographs are contact sheets composed of consecutively assembled filmstrips of a single shooting session. This implies that the conceptual process begins long before the camera is actually used: the fragmentation of the image initially takes place within the artist’s mind. As Richard Wendorf comments in the catalog essay, “Kellner’s photographs ask us to perform a variety of operations simultaneously as we attempt to fuse these dancing images into a more stable, more readily identifiable whole.”

 

Thomas Kellner was born in Germany in 1966, and studied art, sociology, politics and economics at the University of Siegen in Germany.  He is the recipient of the Kodak Germany Young Professionals Prize, and was a visiting professor of fine art photography at the University of Giessen.  His work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Germany, the United States, Brazil, and England, and he currently lives and works in Siegen, Germany.

About the Boston Athenæum

The Boston Athenæum, founded in 1807, is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries in the United States.  The building’s first floor galleries are always free and open to the public.  The Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery features new exhibitions three to four times a year, and pieces of the Athenæum's formidable permanent collection of visual art are on display on a rotating basis in the public areas.Membership at the Boston Athenæum is open to all by application. In addition to library borrowing privileges, members enjoy access to beautiful research rooms with wireless internet access, and many events, including concerts, lectures, book groups, children's story hours and the famous bi-weekly Athenæum Afternoon Tea.

For information about membership, visit www.bostonathenaeum.org.