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Michael Snow
Four to Five
Sixteen gelatin silver prints

26 3/4 x 32 13/16 inches
© Philadelphia Museum of Art and Michael Snow

Philadelphia Museum of Art


Michael Snow: Photo-Centric
February 1–April 27, 2014
Honickman and Berman Galleries
Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present the first exhibition in the United States in over four decades devoted solely to the photographic work of the acclaimed Canadian artist Michael Snow. One of the most influential experimental filmmakers of his generation, Snow is known and admired for his multidisciplinary approach to art making. Photo-Centric will highlight this important aspect of his practice, exploring the intimate connections that exist between his work in photography, painting, sculpture, and film.

Developed in close collaboration with the artist, Photo-Centric is a focused survey of Snow’s photography-based work and presents key examples of his use of the medium over the past five decades. This body of work has been central to Snow’s investigation of the nature and limits of representation, articulated through an exploration of photography and its processes. According to Snow, “To extend the depth of what has been called ‘art’ into photography requires . . . making available to the spectator the amazing transformations the subject undergoes to become the photograph.”

Poised between two- and three-dimensionality, a number of works in this exhibition engage physically with the gallery space and the viewer, and are representative of Snow’s various approaches to photography and the various ways in which it “frames” vision. Each work exemplifies one or more of the strategies employed by Snow to explore this idea. Illumination, transparency, staging, simultaneity and sequence, size manipulation, cropping, and framing are brought into play and exposed for the part they play in the making of photographic images.

Michael Snow: Photo-Centric also explores the intimate connections that exist between the artist’s paintings, sculptures, and films as mediated by and through photography. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is an ideal context for Snow and his work, which illuminates concepts critical to the making and appreciation of art.

Michael Snow: Photo-Centric will be accompanied by a catalogue published by the Museum in association with Yale University Press. It will include essays by Michael Snow and Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, and a foreword by Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer. The sixty-page catalogue includes thirty-nine illustrations and will be available for $20.00 in February 2014.

About the artist
Michael Snow (Canadian, born 1928) attended the Ontario College of Art, where he specialized in design while independently painting and playing jazz piano. A sculptor, filmmaker, painter, photographer, installation-maker, and musician, Snow has been featured in solo exhibitions and retrospectives including the Venice Biennale, 1970 the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1970, 1994) the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1976 Documenta 6, 1977 the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1978, 2003) the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1988) the Power Plant, Toronto (1994, 2009) the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (1995) the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, and the Cinémathèque Française, Paris (1999) the Centre National de la Photographie, Paris (2000) among others. He has earned numerous international awards and titles and his works in all media are found in public collections worldwide.


Additional Information

Michael Snow: Biography on Art in Context

Michael Snow: Related Links on Art in Context


Michael Snow, Canadian, (1929- )
b. December 10, 1928, Toronto

Art in Context - Projects:
Art in Context - Art for the Day: December 10

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