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Henry Wessel

in Teaneck, NJ

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Since the mid-1960s, the American photographer Henry Wessel (*1942) has created a diverse body of work that was shaped from the outset by his interest in the sights and spaces of America. Wessel belongs to a group of photographers called "New Topographics", among them Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Bernd and Hilla Becher, whose work engages in the dialectical relationship of nature and civilization. Beyond that, Wessel has developed his own thoroughly structured visual language with its characteristic touches of humour and irony. Coincidence, spontaneity and everyday chaos find a natural acceptance in his pictures. Wessel’s photographs often draw attention to quiet and simple scenes and events that could easily be missed. They speak of his intuition and visual sensibility to render scenes in a way that is formally convincing and lyrical at the same time.
In his work group “California and the West“ Henry Wessel put together his core ideas and subjects from the 1960s to the 1990s. Among his preferred motifs are the desert-like landscapes of California and the American West, the vernacular architecture and streets of suburbia, the gardens of the houses, scenes observed during parades or on the beach. Ever since Wessel’s fleeing west from the grey New York winter of 1969, the special light he found in California became a major compositional element in his photographic work. Henry Wessel's interest in light is antagonistically reflected in the more recent series “Night Walk“. These photographs, dating from 1995–1998, were made after dark on long walks through residential areas of Los Angeles. In the series "Real Estate Photographs", created in 1990 and 1992, Wessel works exclusively in colour. Shooting from the higher vantage of his pick-up, he systematically photographed suburban houses in the area around Richmond/California, which has been Henry Wessel's home since the 1970s.


Art objects of this artist

Wessel, Henry ◊ San Francisco, 1978
Wessel, Henry ◊ San Francisco, 1978

Wessel, Henry ◊ Las Vegas, 2003
Wessel, Henry ◊ Las Vegas, 2003

Wessel, Henry ◊ Untitled, from
Wessel, Henry ◊ Untitled, from 'Real Estate'

Wessel, Henry ◊ Untitled, from 
Wessel, Henry ◊ Untitled, from 'Real Estate'

Wessel, Henry ◊ Vista del Mar, 1995
Wessel, Henry ◊ Vista del Mar, 1995

Wessel, Henry ◊ Leadville, CO, 1982
Wessel, Henry ◊ Leadville, CO, 1982

Wessel, Henry ◊ Las Vegas, 2000
Wessel, Henry ◊ Las Vegas, 2000

Wessel, Henry ◊ Untitled, from
Wessel, Henry ◊ Untitled, from 'Real Estate'

Wessel Henry - Walapai Arizona, 1971
Wessel Henry - Walapai Arizona, 1971

Biography


Education

1972
State University of New York at Buffalo/Visual Studies Workshop, M.F.A.

1966
Pennsylvania State University, B.A.

Fellowships

1979
John Simmon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

1978
National Endowment for the Arts Survey Grant

1977
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

1975
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

1971
John Simmon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL / Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia
California Historical Society, San Francisco, CA / Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ / Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA / Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA/ Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA/ Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY/ Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA/ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA/ Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX/ Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY/ National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada / Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA / Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA / Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA / Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA / San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA/ Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA / Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan / Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Britain



BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects

Exhibition


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2009-2010
"Henry Wessel - Photographs", Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Germany

2008
Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

2007
Retrospective, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Die Photographische Sammlung/SK-Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany

2002
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2002
Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA

2000
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1998
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA

1998
Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA

1996
Gallery Ram, Santa Monica, CA

1992
Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1989
Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1988
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

1987
International Museum of Photography, Osaka, Japan

1987
Gallery Min, Tokyo, Japan

1981
Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1977
Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY

1973
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY


Selected Group Exhibitions

2005

Garry Winogrand and the street photographers (Mitch Epstein, Lee Friedlander, Joel Meyerowitz, Henry Wessel):

FOAM, Amsterdam, 13. Januar - 30 März
Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, 16. April – 17. Juli

2001
"Masterpieces of California Photography: Capturing Light, 1850-2000," Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA

2001
"Beyond Boundaries: Contemporary Photography in California," Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco, CA

2001
"Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-

2000
"The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

2001
"Depicting Absence/Implying Presence," San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA

"Exurbia," Gallery Luisotti, San Monica, CA

"Blind Date," Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, NY

"Show Time," Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2000
"Walker Evans & Company," Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

"Ditto," James Harris Gallery, Seattle, WA

1999-2000
"MOMA 2000, Modern Starts: People, Places, Things," Museum of Modern Art, NY1999
"An American Century of Photography," Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA

1999
"Pure Products of America," (three person show) Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY

1997
"Icons; Magnets of Meaning," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA

"Backyards," Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY

"Rethinking Topographics," Gallery Ram, Santa Monica, CA

1996
"Crossing the Frontier: Photographs of the Developing West 1849 to the Present,"
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA

1995
"Facing Eden, 100 Years of Landscape Art," de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA

"Seeing Things: Photographs from1844 to 1995," Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY

1994
"Gesture and Pose: Twentieth Century Photographs," Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

1994
"New Work, New Directions," Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

1993
"Critical Landscape," Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan (catalogue)

1991
"Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort," Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

1989
"Picturing California: A Century of Photographic Genius," Oakland Museum, CA

1987
"Photographs from the Last Decade," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA

1984
"Photography in California: 1945-1980," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art," San Francisco, CA

1983
"Twentieth Century Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art, "Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan

1981
"American Landscapes: Photographs from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art," Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

1978
"Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960," Museum of Modern Art, NY

1975
"New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape,"International Museum of , Photography Rochester, NY



BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects

Bibliography


Pressreleases
Feb 1st, 2007
New Publication: HENRY WESSEL
Dec 17th, 2007
German Photobook Award 2008 for Henry Wessel
Jul 30th, 2009
Henry Wessel at the Städtischen Galerie Wolfsburg


More publications

2007
Henry Wessel, Steidl Publishers

2006
Henry Wessel: California and the West; Odd Photos; Las Vegas; Real State Photographs; Night Walk (Five paperbacks in slipcase, limited edition of 1,500 copies) Steidl Publishers



BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects

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