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Both Sides Now: Robert Heinecken Photograms

September 1st – October 11th, 2015
Palm Springs Art Museum, Jorgensen Gallery

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) was a pioneer in the exploration of media iconography as cultural critique. The Recto/Verso photograms (1989) are made without the use of camera or film. A single page is appropriated from a mass-circulation magazine, placed in direct contact with color photographic paper, and exposed to light. The resulting image superimposes the visual and verbal information from the front (recto) and back (verso) of the magazine page. No collage, manipulation, or other handwork is employed.

Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #7 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #1 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #2 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #3 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #4 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #5 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #6 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #8 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #9 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #10 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #11 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.
Robert Heinecken, Recto/Verso #12 (from the portfolio Recto/Verso), 1989, Cibachrome photogram, edition 25/50, Collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum, gift of Jerome and Elaine Morgan, (c) The Robert Heinecken Foundation, Chicago.

Please note: this exhibition will re-open to the public September 1 and will be on view through October 11.

Robert Heinecken (American, 1931-2006) was a pioneer in the exploration of media iconography as cultural critique. The Recto/Verso photograms (1989) are made without the use of camera or film. A single page is appropriated from a mass-circulation magazine, placed in direct contact with color photographic paper, and exposed to light. The resulting image superimposes the visual and verbal information from the front (recto) and back (verso) of the magazine page. No collage, manipulation, or other handwork is employed.

Heinecken’s photograms highlight female sexuality in the 1980s as it is exploited in the media through fashion models posing with various commercial products. The pictures become complicated critiques of desire as unusual juxtapositions from both sides of the page create a tangle of images. This blending of visual and verbal information reveals the conflation of vanity and consumption that underlies advertising. Narcissism, decadence, eroticism, passion, spirituality, and family combine to expose the ways that the bodies of women are used to support cultural assumptions.

Twelve photographic writers and curators were each asked to address one of the Recto/Verso Cibachrome photograms. Their texts are printed on document-grade vellum slipsheets to accompany the prints.

This portfolio is a generous gift to the museum's permanent collection from Jerome and Elaine Morgan.