David Haxton


April 14 – May 19, 2019


Fridman Gallery is honored to present -/+, David Haxton’s first exhibition with the gallery, a selection of films and photographs made over the past five decades.


A sequence of Haxton’s 16mm films from the 70s and 80s – among them ​Overlapping Planes​, Painting Lights,​ ​Cubes,​ ​Landscape and Room, and Pyramid Drawings​ – will be projected on the back wall of the gallery, at a considerable distance, yet immediately visible, from the entrance. Along the side walls, filming stills and more recent large-scale color photographs of front- and backlit paper constructions will lead visitors through the space, towards the projected image.


Trained as a painter, Haxton began making films in 1969, interested in examining the nature of the medium from the perspective of a modernist painter – light, movement, and the formation of a three-dimensional illusion on a flat surface. The camera remains in a static position throughout the single take, without editing. Actions of the performers are limited to movement back and forth, parallel to the picture plane, describing a three-dimensional space in terms of its two-dimensional representation.


Sets created in the filmed space are designed so that the activities of the performers will gradually reveal the three dimensionality of the space while continually referring back to the flatness of the screen and the physicality of the light producing the filmed image. This is not film as narration of events, but film as a thing in itself, a description of space through light, an act of its own making. Likewise, Haxton’s photographs from the 2000s – abstract tableaux created in empty studios with paper backdrops and scrims – are self-contained descriptions of the photographic space, uninhabited by anthropocentric concerns with functionality or storytelling.

David Haxton (b. 1943, Indianapolis, Indiana) received an MFA in Painting from the University of Michigan in 1967, and has exhibited at the Pompidou, MoMA, the Whitney, the Smithsonian, and many other institutions. Selected public collections include: the Pompidou, MoMA, SFMOMA, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Albright Knox Gallery, National Gallery of Art (Australia), Denver Museum of Art, and the Chicago Art Institute.

program of events:

Opening reception: Sunday, April 14, 6-8pm

Performance by Eve Essex and Byron Westbrook: Tuesday, April 23, 8pm

Performance by Marina Rosenfeld and Ben Vida: Friday, May 17, 8 pm


David Haxton in conversation with Owen Duffy