Research Code Key
[E] Explanation [O] Opinion [W] Website [R] Further Research [Q] Quotation [U] Useful [!] Critical
[X] Exhibition [T] Timeline [I] Important [>] Indent
[P] Photograph [B] Book To Read


[U] PaceWildenstein is pleased to present Heads (1999-2001) by Philip-Lorca diCorcia on view from September 6 through October 13, 2001 at Pace’s new Chelsea gallery located on 534 West 25th Street in New York City.

[U] The exhibition of new work features seventeen 48 x 60 inch color photographs shot in New York City’s Times Square, each a candid and un-staged image of an unsuspecting passerby. diCorcia’s sophisticated lighting techniques are employed to both illuminate and isolate each “head” amidst the hustle of city streets, providing the viewer with an opportunity for close inspection by tempering spontaneity with method.

[U] The simplicity of his compositions enable seemingly insignificant details such as designer sunglasses, bottled water and headphones to resonate with meaning and assume the ability to reveal otherwise hidden dimensions of the subject’s identity.

[U] As a result, diCorcia’s Heads are at once both grandly anonymous and intimately personal.

[U] Similarly, Heads is an eloquent statement about the nuances of contemporary mass culture and a meditation on which objects function as icons of our time.

[U] Heads is diCorcia’s most recent elaboration on the legacy of street photography and portraiture initially developed and championed by artists including Walker Evans, Harry Callahan and Garry Winogrand.

[U] In the exhibition’s companion essay, Sante credits diCorcia with largely reconfiguring street photography over the course of the past five years.

[U] Sante writes: “Street photography’s ostensible promise had always been to serve up truth, unvarnished, unprocessed, and unpremeditated…What diCorcia’s lighting did was to dose the form with an unmistakable taste of fiction.”

[U] He lauds the effects of diCorcia’s methodology by observing that the resultant images are imbued with an unmistakable gravity that become, in Sante’s words, “somehow representative of the complete range of urban humanity.”

[U] Consequently, the Heads series has a remarkable tension—each image possesses a timelessness produced by diCorcia’s effort to provide insightful, momentary glimpses into contemporary society as it is found on the street.

[U] diCorcia (b. 1951) studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), received his M.F.A. from Yale University, and was a three-time recipient of artist fellowships awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

[U] Exhibited in group shows throughout the United States and Europe since 1977, diCorcia’s work was included in the traveling exhibition “Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort” organized in 1991 by the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and in the 1997 Whitney Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).

[X] The artist received his first solo show in 1985 in Milan and, since joining Pace/MacGill in 1993, has been featured in one-person exhibitions worldwide at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Art Space Ginza (Tokyo) and the Sprengel Museum (Hannover), among others. diCorcia has also worked as a freelance photographer for numerous publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Details, Esquire and W. diCorcia’s work belongs to many important public and private art collections both here and abroad including: the Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover), the Biblioteque National (Paris), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge), the Galleria Civica di Modena (Modena), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Museo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofia (Madrid), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) and the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven).