Untitled (Structures): Leslie Hewitt in collaboration with Bradford Young
Leslie Hewitt in collaboration with Bradford Young, Untitled (Structures), 2012. Production still.
Courtesy of the artists and Lucien Terras, Inc.
January 26 – May 5, 2013
This exhibition represents the premiere of Untitled (Structures), 2012. A dual-projection film installation by New York-based artist Leslie Hewitt in collaboration with independent filmmaker and experimental cinematographer Bradford Young, The work was co-commissioned by the Des Moines Art Center, the Menil Collection, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. It was initiated in response to the Menil’s extensive holdings of Civil Rights-era photography. Given to the museum by Adelaide de Menil and Edmund Carpenter, the collection consists of photographs by Bob Adelman, Leonard Freed, Bruce Davidson, Danny Lyon, Dan Budnick, and Elliott Erwitt.
The footage was shot with 35 mm on location in Memphis, Chicago, and Arkansas, in buildings and spaces associated with the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration, when an estimated eight million African Americans moved from the South to Northern cities in search of new opportunities. Representing two years of research addressing the perceivable limits of still photography and the photojournalistic forms associated with the era, the work is comprised of a series of non-linear, silent vignettes that point to often unseen private spaces and explore landscape, interiority, and notions of time.
For Hewitt the film is about slowing down our perception of time and thinking about the architectural spaces of history that are often forgotten and remain unnamed. She said, “We wanted to slow down the act of looking, the act of reflection in this work. Visiting and intentionally seeking out sites that were lesser know in terms of the impact on the twentieth century was exhilarating. We were similar to urban archaeologists finding the traces of history in the density of contemporary life.”
Untitled (Structures) was produced by Karin Chien. It was commissioned by the Menil Collection, Houston, with the support of Jerean and Holland Chaney, in collaboration with the Des Moines Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Additional funding provided by Joseph Chung, Marilyn and Larry Fields, and Elliot and Kimberly Perry. Material support provided by Kodak, Panavision, and Harbor Picture Company. The work is Courtesy of the artists and Lucien Terras, Inc.
This exhibition is generously supported by The John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Sentinel Trust, UBS, Jereann and Holland Chaney and the City of Houston.