This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast spotlights conceptual photographer Robert Heinecken with Museum of Modern Art curator Eva Respini.
Heinecken was a pioneer in using media to critique media, a practice that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have adapted for a television age. Heinecken rarely took his own photographs, instead using existing images and long-familiar photographic and printing techniques to create new semi-collages made up of multiple images. Heinecken’s work is the subject of "Robert Heinecken: Object Matter," a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition is in member previews, opens tomorrow, and runs through September 7.
While Heinecken is best-known for his interest in and his critiques of sex in media, he also made a substantial body of work about violence in media, and the ways in which violence and sex were (often unintentionally) juxtaposed to help sell products. Today on MANPodcast.com we’ll be spotlighting Heinecken’s violence-themed work.
These are two-page spreads from Heinecken’s Periodical #1 (1969). The first image features a report on the My Lai massacre and a pornographic image, and the second features Heinecken’s use of a news photograph of a Cambodian soldier holding two severed heads. Heinecken’s ‘periodicals’ were modified magazines that were often inserted back into newsstands for unsuspecting consumers to purchase. They address many issues, including the sometimes surreal juxtaposition of sex and news coverage of violence.
On the second segment, Museum of Fine Arts Houston Anne Wilkes Tucker discusses Heinecken as a conceptualist. On the occasion of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s 1999 Heinecken retrospective, Tucker gave a lecture in which she posited that in the future the conceptual nature of Heinecken’s practice would be more valued and more useful to other artists than it was then. Did her prediction come true?
Tucker was most recently a guest on The MAN Podcast to discuss an MFAH exhibition she co-curated titled, “War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath.”
See more images of art discussed on this week’s program.