Arne Svenson, A Beautiful Day #12, 2021, Pigment Print, 16 x 11 in.
Contemporary Art Matters is pleased to present Arne Svenson: A Beautiful Day, a solo exhibition of new photographs that represent Svenson’s view of the world as seen from his NYC Tribeca studio window. The show is on view November 19 – December 21, 2021, with gallery hours Tuesdays thru Thursdays 11-6, and by appointment and virtual appointment. For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Beautiful Day is photographed from only two windows, one facing north, the other west. This intentional restriction narrows the artists focus on behavioral minutia. Svenson creates a visual narrative about unknowing subjects from the subtlest of movements, postures, and positions. As the subject passes into the constricted field of view, only seconds exist to isolate and record the pictorial equivalent of the opening line of a story that may be faded out and completed as they like by those who view these photographs.
A Beautiful Day is a new extension of The Neighbors, an ongoing series created through necessity. When the new series began, Svenson thought he was done with staring out windows and photographing anonymous lives but as pandemic-related shutdowns multiplied, he was sequestered in his second-floor studio, unable to travel or schedule shoots. Very few people wandered the neighborhood, but those who did caught his attention, just as the apartment dwellers formerly had. Instead of seeing across the street into the interior lives of the subjects, he looked down to the street and photographed lives lived on the public street and sidewalk. Svenson’s aim remains the same: to capture those seemingly banal behaviors in which we all engage and to reveal the wonder, mystery, and beauty of them.
Arne Svenson is a self-taught photographer with an educational and vocational background in special education. His photographs have been shown extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia and are included in numerous public and private collections, including SFMOMA, Carnegie Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Norton Museum of Art. Svenson’s work has been reviewed/profiled in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America and The New Yorker, among other publications. In 2016 he received the prestigious Nannen Prize in photojournalism for his project The Neighbors.Svenson is the author/photographer of numerous books, including Unspeaking Likeness, The Neighbors, Prisoners and Sock Monkeys (200 out of 1,863). Recent solo exhibitions were at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, CO, (2016); Western Gallery + Public Art Collection, Western Washington University, WA, (2017) and a two-person show with the work of Andre Kertesz at Galerie Miranda, Paris (2019).
Video directed by Sam Vladimirsky
Neighbors is a departure from Svenson’s usual studio-based practice, inspired by the gift of a bird-watching telephoto lens. Applying a reporter’s gaze to the quotidian activities of his downtown Manhattan neighborhood, the images are framed by the grid of Svenson’s own apartment windows. Daily events are thus presented in a theatrical format, cropped and oriented to focus the viewer’s attention.
Arne Svenson, The Neighbor Series