The Neighbors

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Installation View © Courtesy of the artist & Julie Saul Gallery
The Neighbors

535 West 22 St.
New York, NY 10011
May 9th, 2013 - June 29th, 2013
Opening: May 11th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tue-Fri 10-6; Sat 11-6


Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to present Arne Svenson's most recent series, The Neighbors.  Svenson has turned outward from his usual studio based practice to study the daily activities of his Tribeca neighbors as seen through his windows into theirs. Svenson has always combined a highly developed aesthetic sense viewed from the perspective of social anthropology in his eclectic projects with subjects ranging from prisoners to sock monkeys.  His projects are almost always instigated by an external or random experience which brings new objects or equipment into his life- in this case he inherited a bird watching telephoto lens from a friend. 

 In a classic "Rear Window" scenario (minus the broken leg) Svenson turned the lens on his affluent neighbors in their sleek, glass-walled coop. The grid structure of the windows frame the quotidian activities of the neighbors, forming images which are puzzling, endearing, theatrical and often seem to mimic art history, from Delacroix to Vermeer. 

Svenson comments: "For my subjects there is no question of privacy; they are performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised high. 

As the Neighbors move into and out of their prosceniums, divergent narratives are created in the segmented windowpanes... I am at the window, waiting for those curtains to part again and for the tableaux to materialize, for the performance to begin."

Voyeuristic and investigative, The Neighbors is social documentation in a very rarified environment.  The large color prints have been cropped to various orientations and sizes to condense and focus the action. In a recent review in Photograph from his LA show C Wagley wrote, "had you not read the press release, you might think these were film stills from some slow-moving art-house picture." Svenson has shown with the gallery since 1992 and is known for such diverse bodies of works as the aforementioned Prisoners (1997), Sock Monkeys  (2003) and recent book projects Strays (2012), Chewed (2011), and Mrs. Ballard's Parrots (2005).  He recently completed the solo exhibition About Face at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.  His work is in the collections of the Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.