April 24, 2008 - Americas Society - Melvin Charney
April 24, 2008

Melvin Charney

Melvin Charney, Parable No. 22…
Battery Park City Finally Starts,
New York, 1974, 1994 – 1995 (detail),
Collection Caisse de dépôt
et placement du Québec

Between Observation and Intervention:
The Painted photographs of Melvin Charney

Guest Curator: Gwendolyn Owen
May 1 – July 31, 2008

680 Park Avenue at 68th Street
New York, NY 10065
T: 212.249.8950


New York, May 1st 2008, Americas Society will open a major exhibition on Melvin Charney, one of Canada’s foremost contemporary artists. Between Observation and Intervention: the Painted Photographs of Melvin Charney, organized in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, continues the Americas Society’s tradition of presenting timely and compelling exhibitions of contemporary artists from across the hemisphere to the New York public. This exhibition marks Melvin Charney’s first solo show in a New York Cultural Institution since his P.S.1 installation in 1979.

According to guest curator, Gwendolyn Owens: “Artist/architect Melvin Charney has focused his eye upon the city. The art resulting from his careful study includes photographs, sculpture, installations, monuments, and urban plans; among the most arresting works are his painted photographs in which bold images in pastel and paint are overlaid on printed mass media images”. These large scale layered works, which challenge our understanding of cities and their components, will be the focus of the exhibition at Americas Society

First begun in 1989, the painted photographs grew out of an ongoing project, Un Dictionnaire, for which the artist has—since 1970—been collecting images of buildings reproduced in newspapers, and then painting over them with semi-transparent gray wash and mounting them together to create a ever-expanding work of individual panels that focus on buildings and the ways in our society sees and uses them.

Public Programs
The exhibition will be an occasion not only for the audience to get to know the work of one of Canada’s most celebrated artists, but also will provide an opportunity for challenging public discussions about the city in the 21st century. The free public programs will begin on Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. with a curatorial dialogue between the guest curator, Gwendolyn Owens, and Gabriela Rangel, Director of the Americas Society’s Visual Arts Department. The series continues on June 11 with a panel discussion about the city in the 21st century with Anthony Kiendl, (Director of Plug In ICA, Winnipeg), Carlos Brillembourg (Architecture Editor of Bomb magazine), Saul Ostrow (Chair, Visual Arts, The Cleveland Institute of Art) and Gwendolyn Owens; and on June 24 with another panel discussion held at Storefront for Art and Architecture featuring panelists Susan Herrington (University of British Columbia), Dan Graham (Artist), and Yasmeen Siddiqui (curator at Storefront), who will examine the intersection of art and architecture, and discuss the development and transformation of public spaces and cities.

Americas Society gratefully acknowledges the following donors for their generous support:
Government of Canada, Consulate General of Canada, New York; Government of Québec, Québec Government Office in New York; Parnassus Foundation, courtesy of Jane & Raphael Bernstein; Power Corporation of Canada; and Rosamond Ivey. This exhibition is also made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. Additional support has been received from the Nicholas Metivier Gallery.

Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec gratefully acknowledges the following donors and partners for their generous support: American Apparel Canada; Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc.; Webster Foundation, and anonymous donors; Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada; and Canada Council for the Arts.

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a government corporation funded by theministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec.

Melvin Charney would also like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their support.

The listed event is free, open to the public and will take place at Americas Society.
We are located at 680 Park Avenue at 68th Street, in New York City.
For wheelchair access, kindly call in advance.
Reservations are mandatory, so please RSVP to: (212) 277-8359 or culture@americas-society.org

For more information, visit www.americas-society.org . If you have questions or comments, please email us at culture@americas-society.org

Americas Society

Americas Society
Share - Melvin Charney
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York