29 Jun
Mon / 2020

Inside the MFAH
Follow the Path: Total Eclipse of the Arc

Malcolm Daniel, curator of photography, answers a few questions about the unique exhibition Sarah Charlesworth: Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26, 1979.

What would you like visitors to know about the photographer?
Sarah Charlesworth (1947–2013) came of age artistically in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the rigorous and pristine objects of Minimalism gave way to the dematerialized art of Conceptualism. In the late 1970s and early 1980s—beginning with her series Modern History, which includes Arc of Total Eclipse—she rose to prominence alongside Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, and other artists of the “Pictures Generation.” Charlesworth’s Modern History series perfectly represents that pivot point, as she and others adopted Conceptual art’s rule-based creative systems and banishment of the artist’s hand. But at the same time, they once again embraced representation, exploring the way popular images both reflected and influenced modern life.

What inspired Arc of Total Eclipse?
Arc of Total Eclipse is one of about a dozen major works in Charlesworth’s first important series, Modern History. She had worked as a commercial photographer for seven years, but this was her first artistic body of work. Each part of the series follows the same format: newspaper front pages, reproduced actual size with all but the masthead and photographs removed. Yet each has its own structure and internal logic. Some present the front page of a single newspaper over the course of a month; others trace the life of a single image around the world. Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26, 1979 presents the front pages of 29 newspapers with images of the previous day’s solar eclipse from Portland, Oregon, to Thunder Bay, Ontario. The newspapers—mostly small-town journals—are drawn from locations along the path.

What do you hope people take away from the exhibition?
Charlesworth’s work, particularly Modern History and Arc of Total Eclipse, prompts us to consider the many ways a single story can be told and the degree to which our understanding of events is conditioned by the images we see: how they are chosen, cropped, sized, and arranged.

► See Sarah Charlesworth: Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26, 1979 on the lower level of the Beck Building through November 29.


Recent Posts

Post Archives

Tag Cloud

17th-century 18thc 18th-century 1960s 1970s 19th-century 20th-century 35mm 5womenartists abstract abstraction activities activity africa african-art a-history-of-photography akan america american american-art ancient and angelica-kauffmann animals animation anna-atkins antiquities architecture archive armchair-travel art art-books artist artists art-of-the-islamic-worlds arts-of-india azaleas bayou bayou-bend bayou-bend-christmas-village bend bestowing-beauty biblical biography black book british british-arrows british-art broadways-amazing-mastersons buffalo-bayou-park-cistern camp campus campus-redevelopment cannes carroll-sterling-masterson chair chef chinese-art christmas christmas-fun cinema cisternrain civil-rights classes classic classic-films cocktail coffee collection color colors-of-the-oasis community concrete conservation contemporary-art contemporary-arts-museum-houston contemporary-film contesting-modernity conversation countess create cullen-sculpture-garden culture curator curators-picks dance decorative-arts degas degas-a-new-vision design digital discussion diversity documentary documents dont-blink-robert-frank drama drawings dutch-art electronic elizabeth-i england english e-records europe exhibition exhibitions eye-on-houston family family-programs fashion fashion-fusion feast festival fiber-arts field film films flowers food france francis-bacon free french french-art fun future futuremfah gainsborough galleries gallery gallery-interpretation garden gardening garden-paradise gardens george-iii glassell glassell-school-of-art google-art-project google-arts-and-culture habsburg-splendor-masterpieces-from-viennas-imperial-collections halloween happyhour happy-new-year harris-masterson-iii henry-viii hirsch-library history history-book-club holiday holiday-fun hollywood home homemfah homeso-different-so-appealing houston howe hurricane-harvey icaa ikat ima-hogg impressionism indian-art instagram interactive ipads islamic italian japanese-art jazz john-biggers joshua-reynolds kenwood kids king kodak kusama latin latin-america latin-american latin-american-art latino-art latin-wave latinx laura-israel learning-and-interpretation livestream love mail manet maria-fernanda-cardoso masterpiece mastersons mayan-art media meditation mending-craft-and-community mexican-film mexican-modernism mexico mfa-cafe mfah mfah-book-club mfah-films mfah-in-the-community mfah-staff modern modernism monet movie movies movies-houstonians-love mueck mueckmfah museum museum-education music native-american-art nature new nhprc now-on-view now-playing organic oscar-de-la-renta oscars painting paintings paint-the-revolution paris paul-thomas-anderson peacock-in-the-desert-the-royal-arts-of-jodhpur-india peacockmfah persian persian-art photographs photography picasso politics portrait portraits pose prints prints-and-drawings programs queen-victoria radical rebel-jester-mystic-poet recipe rembrandt-van-rijn rienzi ron-mueck rothko sampler school sculpted-in-steel sculpture self-portrait shadow-monsters shepherds short-films slow-art-day snail snapshot social soul soul-of-a-nation spain spanish spanish-art spring streaming style summer technology texas textiles thanksgiving the the-al-sabah-collection theater the-glamour-and-romance-of-oscar-de-la-renta tour trivia tudors-to-windsors valentines-day vangogh venezuelan-art video vincent-van-gogh vincent-van-gogh-his-life-in-art virtual wagner-garden-carpet watercolor winter women-filmmakers womens-history-month works-on-paper yoga zoom