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Robbert Flick: Arena


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Robbert Flick: Arena

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM

 Su-Mei Tse, L’ Echo, 2003, still from video projection, sound, 4 min 54 sec. Courtesy of the artist and Peter Blum Gallery, New York / Miller Meigs Collection

May 19 – Oct 28, 2018

Robbert Flick: Arena

When Netherlands-born Robbert Flick first moved to Los Angeles in 1968, the car-centric nature of the sprawling American city immediately influenced his photographic practice. Between 1977 and 1979, he photographed no other landscape than the multi-level parking garage located behind his Inglewood studio. Arena, the resulting series of this dedicated two-year study, is a conceptual counterpoint to the exhibition The Shape of Speed, demonstrating the starkly complex and beautiful systems that support car culture.

Devoid of both cars and people, Flick’s black-and-white photographs treat the parking structure as a system of lines, angles, masses, planes, and contrasts. Weighty concrete engages with sinuous steel cables, while the strong California sun casts severe shadows on the vertical and horizontal surfaces, occasionally assisted by bare fluorescent lights. Far from a dull description of a garage, the Arena series encourages even the most jaded of car commuters to pay close attention to the modern functional architecture that surrounds us all.

Organized by the Portland Art Museum and selected from the collection of the Wilson Centre for Photography. Curated by Julia Dolan, Ph.D, The Minor White Curator of Photography.

Mr. Flick’s cinematic idea is that a succession of closely observed views gives a more dynamic sense of place than would a few random shots, that places are too various and idiosyncratic to be encompassed in a single photograph, brilliant as it may be.
— Grace Glueck, The New York Times
…The way Flick works has remained consistent from the early 1970s, when he cruised rural Illinois roads photographing the grid in which cornfields were planted, until today, when he cruises the L.A. freeways and photographs the gridlock and swoosh of the traffic.
— Colin Westerbeck, Art in America magazine
Earlier Event: June 25
Picturing Oregon
Later Event: August 18
APEX: Avantika Bawa