Leo Castelli Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of Polaroids by Diana Kingsley, Richard Pettibone, and Mike and Doug Starn. When Edwin H. Land, Polaroid's founder, announced the invention of instant photography in 1947, he said, "The purpose of inventing instant photography was essentially aesthetic to make available a new medium of expression to numerous individuals who have an artistic interest in the world around them.” Artists including Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, and Richard Prince are well known for using Polaroids as an integral part of their creative processes. This exhibition will focus on three artists whose use of the Polaroid is not as well known.
Richard Pettibone turned to the use of Polaroids between 1979 and 1980 when for personal reasons was unable to focus on painting. Polaroids were an easy medium for the artist to continue his work with appropriation. Mr. Pettibone says "I made paintings of paintings, so why not make photographs of photographs?", he appropriated work by photographers such as Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Diane Arbus. In his Polaroids, Mr. Pettibone often takes photographs directly from books on the artists, leaving visual clues such as the book binding showing as a sign of his appropriation.
Photographers Mike and Doug Starn use Polaroids as sketches in the same way a painter would use drawings. Mike and Doug Starn use Polaroids as a visual record of works in progress. In many of the works they create Polaroid assemblages to form a larger composition.
Diana Kingsley’s Polaroids function as a preliminary study of light, composition, and content. They allow her to seize the moment where the idea has taken place. Ms. Kingsley describes Polaroids as “part of the detritus of the studio.”
Richard Pettibone, Mike and Doug Starn, and Diana Kingsley have each developed their own specific language in dealing with instant photography. The exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery explores their similarities and sharp contrasts.