Glenstone Presents a Five-Decade Survey of Work by Jeff Wall

By Editorial Team on October 19, 2021
Jeff Wall, The Destroyed Room, 1978, transparency in lightbox, 62 5/8 × 90 1 ⁄8 inches (159 × 229 cm) © Jeff Wall. Courtesy the artist and Glenstone Museum.
Opening: Thursday, October 21, 2021

On October 21, Glenstone Museum will open a five-decade survey exhibition by Jeff Wall (b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada) in Room 2 of the Pavilions. Comprising nearly thirty pictures made between 1978 and 2018, the exhibition charts the development of an artistic practice that is widely regarded as having changed the perception of photography as a contemporary art form. Works on view will feature every photographic process in the artist’s oeuvre, from backlit transparencies to large-scale inkjet color prints.

This presentation marks the first monographic exhibition of the artist’s work in the Washington, D.C. area since 1997, and is his largest exhibition in the United States since a mid-career survey at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2007. It will be on view at Glenstone until March 2022.

“Jeff Wall’s work has influenced generations of artists and shaped the discourse around photography today. His immersive, intricate recreations of scenes from everyday life manage to be both familiar and enigmatic,” said Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder of Glenstone. “We are extraordinarily proud to offer visitors this rare opportunity to see a comprehensive survey of the artist’s work, showing the remarkable range and complexity of his art.”

Jeff Wall’s approach has expanded the common understanding and definition of pictorial art by making photographs with the visual power and conceptual weight afforded to painting. Relatively early in his career, Wall parted ways with the convention of street photography and the impulse to capture moments on camera as they occur. Inspired instead by memories and imagined scenarios, he carefully plans and constructs his pictures, scouting locations, casting actors as subjects, and organizing the shoots with the rigor of a movie production.

The exhibition at Glenstone opens with a series of color and black-and-white pictures in which landscape features prominently. Works on view include Steves Farm, Steveston, 1980, which depicts tract housing encroaching on rural farmland, and the more recent I giardini/The Gardens, 2018, a monumental triptych photographed in the lush setting of the Villa Silvia Pellico outside Turin, Italy.

Additional galleries contain the earliest works Wall made in the studio—including The Destroyed Room, 1978 and Picture for Women, 1979—as well as his first pictures featuring urban settings. In an innovative move designed to draw in the viewer, he presents these pictures as transparencies in backlit lightboxes, a format borrowed from the world of advertising.

Also included in the exhibition are several large-scale works including A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), 1993, a contemporary adaptation of a print from Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (ca. 1830-1832).

Jeff Wall currently lives and works between Vancouver and Los Angeles. He has been the subject of multiple monographic exhibitions worldwide, including at the Tate Modern, London (2005); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; (2014); and the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2018).

On the occasion of the exhibition, Glenstone will publish a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an introduction by Emily Wei Rales, an original text by art critic and historian Barry Schwabsky, and color plates of the works in Glenstone’s collection.

About Glenstone

Glenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art, is integrated into nearly 300 acres of gently rolling pasture and unspoiled woodland in Montgomery County, Maryland, less than 15 miles from the heart of Washington, DC. Established by the not-for-profit Glenstone Foundation, the museum opened in 2006 and provides a contemplative, intimate setting for experiencing iconic works of art and architecture within a natural environment. The museum includes its original building, the Gallery, as well as additional structures opened in its 2018 expansion: the Arrival Hall (LEED platinum), the Pavilions, and the Café (both LEED gold).

Glenstone is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are also invited to explore the grounds or participate in self-guided sculpture tours. Admission to Glenstone is free and visits can be scheduled online at: www.glenstone.org. Same-day visits can be scheduled online.

Students 12 and older, active-duty military members, and museum professionals enjoy guaranteed entry for themselves plus one guest upon presenting a valid identification card at the Arrival Hall. Advanced registration is not required for visitors in these categories. Passengers who arrive at Glenstone on the Ride On bus (route 301) also will be offered guaranteed entry.

At Glenstone, masks are currently required except when visitors and associates are outdoors and more than six feet apart from other households. For a list of current visitor guidelines, please review the Plan Your Visit page on www.glenstone.org.