27th, June – 23rd, September, 2012

Painting in Photography: Strategies of Appropriation

From 23 June to 23 September 2012, the Städel Museum will present the exhibition “Painting in Photography: Strategies of Appropriation”. The focus of this show will be the influence of painting on the imagery produced by contemporary photo art. In the 1960s, under the pressure exerted by documentary photography and its circulation through the mass media, painting developed new categories for itself. Conversely, in contemporary photo art a strong response to the conditions of painting can be observed. Again and again, photography reflects on, addresses or represents the traditional pictorial medium, towards which it takes an ambivalent stance vacillating between affirmation and dissociation.

Taking the museum’s own collection as a point of departure, the exhibition at the Städel will present the approaches of some fifteen artists. Among the works on view will be examples by Sherrie Levine and Louise Lawler, who – beginning in the late seventies – photographically appropriated art-historical originals, and staged photographs by Jeff Wall. More recent concepts will also be included, such as that of Amelie von Wulffen, who processes her photographed cityscapes with painterly means, and that of Wolfgang Tillmans, whose abstract works have no illustrative relationship to the visible world. John Baldessari, Victor Burgin, Tacita Dean, Thomas Ruff and others will likewise be represented.

Whereas the influence of photography on painting has already undergone indepth analysis in numerous exhibitions and publications, less attention has been paid to date to the impact of painting on contemporary photography. The exhibition at the Städel Museum will be realized within the framework of the RAY Photography Projects Frankfurt/RheinMain. The investigation of the theme and preparations for the exhibition were carried out in cooperation with the Frankfurt Goethe-Universität within the context of a seminar offered by Dr. Henning Engelke, Dr. Martin Engler and Carolin Köchling at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in the winter semester 2011/2012. The accompanying catalogue will feature text contributions by the seminar participants.


Dr. Martin Engler (Head of the Collection of Contemporary Art)
Carolin Köchling (Curatorial Assistant, Collection of
Contemporary Art)

With support from

Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Publication supported by

DZ BANK, Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung

Städel Museum
Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie
Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt
Opening hours: Tuesday/Friday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm,
Wednesday/Thursday 10 am – 9 pm