Ruth Leon recommends… Bernd and Hilla Becher Exhibition – The Met MuseumRuth Leon recommends
Bernd and Hilla Becher Exhibition – The Met Museum
Perhaps the greatest bonus of writing this Blog is the surprising exposure to arts and artists who have never swam into my ambit before. I would never have thought that I would be interested in this subject matter but I was riveted by this video. It is a virtual tour of an exhibition currently at the Met, celebrating the renowned German artists, Bernd and Hilla Becher (1931–2007; 1934–2015), who changed the course of late twentieth-century photography.
Their work focuses exclusively on industrial architecture, in an extraordinarily detailed series of pictures of buildings which we know exist but never actually look at. Working as a rare artist couple, they focused on a single subject: the disappearing industrial architecture of Western Europe and North America that fuelled the modern era. Their seemingly objective style recalled nineteenth- and early twentieth-century precedents but also resonated with the serial approach of contemporary Minimalism and Conceptual art. Equally significant, it challenged the perceived gap between documentary and fine-art photography.
The enthusiasm of the exhibition’s curator Jeff Rosenheim, accompanied by the Met’s director, Max Hollein, who has a personal reason to be fascinated by these photographs, is infectious and, even more importantly, being guided by these two amazingly knowledgable art historians, a world opens up that I’d never even envisaged.