Marcia Resnick: Re-Visions
I’ve been thinking a lot about work from the late 70’s and 80’s as I am seeing artists revisit the concepts and methodologies that emerged in those decades, so I thought it was interesting that a body of work from that era is being re-published to introduce the work to a new generation. In 1978, artist Marcia Resnick created a book of staged photographs about female adolescence. It was titled Re-Visions and was published by Coach House Press in Toronto, Canada. Last week, 41 years later, the book has been re-published by Zürich, Switzerland’s Edition Patrick Frey.
Re-visions is a collection of “revisualizations of memories, often revised to augment the irony and humor of the human condition. The words and pictures are equally important; they feed off each other working in concert or in discord to form the narrative. In 1975, while driving her car in Manhattan, Marcia became embroiled in a car accident and her entire life flashed before her. When she awoke in the hospital, she began to think about all of the events which led to her being there. She began to write ideas and draw pictures considering her life thus far, in preparation for creating a new book.”
Marcia Resnick was born in Brooklyn, New York, photographer and educator Marcia Resnick first exhibited her art at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum when she was five years old. She is an alumnus of the Cooper Union and did her graduate work at California Institute of the Arts. Her photographs are exhibited internationally and are in major museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC; George Eastman Museum, Rochester; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; New York Public Library; Jewish Museum, NYC; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; USC Fisher Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Her work has also been published in numerous books and periodicals, including The New York Times, The Paris Review, The East Village Eye and Rolling Stone.
In 1975, Resnick self-published three conceptual photo books, Landscape; See and Tahitian Eve. Her autobiographical book of staged photographs about female adolescence, Re-visions was published by The Coach House Press in 1978. From 1979 to 1982, Resnick wrote a humor column for the Soho Weekly News consisting of a photograph and a paragraph. She called it Resnick’s Believe-it-or-Not. Absorbed in the burgeoning punk rock scene, she taught photography in various colleges including NYU and Queens College by day and went to clubs like the Mudd Club and CBGB by night. She began to invite musicians to her studio for photo sessions. Combining confrontation with collaboration, Resnick’s photographic portraits explore fame, sexuality and individual style. While photographing Johnny Thunders, John Lydon, Iggy Pop and other leading figures in the punk music scene, her focus broadened to include portraits from all the arts, including cultural icons Andy Warhol, William Burroughs, John Belushi, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anthony Bourdain, Mick Jagger and many others.
Marcia Resnick’s book Re-visions has been re-published by Edition Patrick Frey and will be launched on September 15, 2019 at Howl! Happening in NYC.
After studying art at Cooper Union, I went to grad school at Cal Arts, where I studied post-studio conceptual art with John Baldessari and Allen Kaprow. I became captivated by photography which was finally becoming accepted as a fine art in the early 70’s. Michel Tournier wrote in The Ogre, “If beautiful landscapes could be eaten, they would be photographed much less.” My photos of landscapes were the antithesis of the then popular lavish landscapes of Ansel Adams. In 1975, I self-published three conceptual artist books, Landscape, See and Tahitian Eve. I always believed that books were the most democratic art form. I always believed that good art should be available to all people..
In 1975, while driving my car in Manhattan, I was in an accident and my entire life flashed before me. When I awoke in the hospital, I began to think about all of the events which led to my being there. I began to write ideas and draw pictures considering my life thus far and created a poignant and ironic, autobiographical book of staged photographs about female adolescence. Re-visions, first published by The Coach House Press in Toronto in 1978, is a collection of revisualizations of memories, often revised to augment the irony and humor of the human condition. The words and pictures are equally important; they feed off each other working in concert or in discord to form the narrative.
After the introspection of Re-visions, I did an about-face from my cool conceptual work. I wanted to explore a world outside of myself and moved on to another topic which had confounded me…the male species. My book “Punks, Poets and Provocateurs: New York City Bad Boys 1977-1982,” published in 2015, was born out of a fascination with the dynamic of a woman photographing men. I was intrigued by the human face as a repository for personality and emotion. I enthusiastically pursued the art of photographic portraiture for the first time. I eventually realized that both photographing people and telling stories were very important to me..
I am delighted that Edition Patrick Frey has re-published my out-of-print book Re-visions forty-one years after it first saw the light of day.
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