Paul Sietsema

The Museum of Modern Art presents Paul Sietsema, the first New York exhibition of the artist’s most recent body of work, on view from September 30, 2009, through February 15, 2010.

Art Exhibition previously on at The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA in Australia.
From Wednesday 30 September 2009 to Monday 15 February 2010

Still from film Figure 3, 2008. image

Published by MOMA on Monday 28 September 2009.
Contact the publisher.

Exhibition Includes Figure 3, Sietsema’s Most Recent Film, and Related Drawings

Sietsema’s films, drawings, and sculptures engage moments in art history and various genres of visual cataloguing. Out-of-print midcentury exhibition catalogues, archaeological manuals, and explorers’ diaries all provide visual source material for direct appropriation and a more subtle gleaning of editing, framing, and presentation styles. This exhibition features his third film, Figure 3 (2008), and drawings related to the film, including new works from the series on view for the first time, and selected works from MoMA’s collection. Paul Sietsema is organized by Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art.

Figure 3 grew out of Sietsema’s collection of images documenting ethnographic objects from Africa, Indo-Asia, and the South Pacific region of Oceania. It reflects his particular interest in the ways these objects have been represented in different contexts, including anthropological photographs and museum displays. For the film, the artist reimagined various historical artifacts from diverse cultures and time periods as sculptures, then captured the handmade objects on 16mm film. The result is mostly black-and-white moving images that slip between abstraction and representation.

Sietsema’s Figure 3 drawings (2005–09), part of the same conceptual project as the film, create a similar tension between their physicality and the traces of their making. Many of the drawings were made with techniques adopted from predigital photo retouching and inkjet printing. The drawings capture a range of subjects, illustrating the marred surfaces of the artist’s workspace as well as carefully selected newspapers disrupted by paint splatters from the studio. Considered together, the drawings and film are an examination of the ways in which certain images are constructed and taken up into history.

Sietsema (American, b. 1968) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BA from University of California, Berkeley (1992) and MFA from UCLA (1999). He has had solo exhibitions at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2009), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2008), de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (2008), and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2003). He has also been included in a number of group exhibitions including Life on Mars: 55th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art (2008), 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art (2008), and Le Mouvement des images at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2006). He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2005) and a DAAD Artists-in-Residence Fellowship (2008).

Paul Sietsema: Figure 3 situates the artist’s latest project in the broader context of his work of the past ten years and is illustrated with stills from Figure 3 and related drawings and objects. An essay by Connie Butler and an interview with the artist by Bruce Hainley, a contributing editor of Artforum, explore Sietsema’s unique approach to looking as well as the relationships between his drawings, object making, and film. Paul Sietsema: Figure 3 is published by The Museum of Modern Art and is distributed to the trade through Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P) in the United States and Canada, and through Thames + Hudson outside North America. It is available at the MoMA Stores and online at Paperback. 8 × 10 in.; 80 pp.; 50 ills. Price: $29.95. ISBN: 978-0-87070-776-6

This publication is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jill and Peter Kraus, de Appel arts centre, and Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson.

The Paul J. Sachs Drawing Galleries, third floor