Photographs by Los Angeles artist Cindy Bernard. Recently featured in Visual Music at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2005, Bernard’s work investigates the social spaces involved with cinema, performance and music. This will be her first solo exhibition in New York.
This exhibition presents selections from the Ask the Dust trilogy and Bandshells, featuring works from 1989 through 2005 that bridge Bernard’s interests in cinema and sound.
Bernard’s Ask the Dust and Grandfather Photos represent two of the three parts of the Ask the Dust trilogy. In Ask the Dust (1989-1992), she explores the relationship between cinema, memory and landscape by returning to the locations of 21 films released between 1954 and 1974, years that marked a transformation in American culture culminating with Nixon’s resignation in 1974. In this series, Bernard re-photographs a shot from each film, capturing the location devoid of the original cinematic markers except for aspect ratio and film stock. In the Grandfather Photos (1989), she examines the photographic archive of her grandfather, William Adams, who obsessively documented family vacations. From the archive, she selects the 20 photographs in which the family was mostly absent, presenting shots of the pure open road that are nearly identical despite being shot over 29 years. Although the Ask the Dust trilogy has been exhibited internationally and is included in the collection of MOCA, this will be the first time works from the trilogy are shown in New York.
Since 2001, Bernard’s work has shifted from documenting the residue of the cinematic experience to exploring that of music and sound. Since 2003, she has been traveling across the United States photographing municipal bandshells, the sites in city squares and parks that function as public commons for the experience of music. The artist photographs these bandshells – or band shelters – when the structures are not in use.
Bernard’s practice incorporates a long-standing commitment to social change and art advocacy, evidenced by her founding and continuing involvement with SASSAS, The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound. During the first week of November, Bernard’s collaboration with David Hatcher, The Inquisitive Musician, will be performed at a local venue to accompany the opening of this exhibition.