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Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to announce RITUAL, a single-artist exhibition by American photographer, Rosalind Solomon. This exhibition, in celebration of the artist’s 80th birthday, takes place nearly 25 years after her pivotal Museum of Modern Art exhibition of the same title, curated by Peter Galassi.  This show is a re-examination of the notion of ritual as a recurring and essential ‘subject’ in Solomon’s work, and features works created over the past four decades, including rare large-scale prints. 

In Solomon’s work, the definition of a ritual, be that a cultural, religious, political, or ceremonial ritual, is called into question, and becomes easier and simultaneously more difficult to define when one considers Solomon’s images of human rites and ceremonies, parades and festivals, memorials and sacrifices. These images of cultural practices, both local and foreign, are united by the same impassioned witness, presented equally and without bias as Solomon searches for a personal understanding and reflection of her own human experience. 

While Solomon travels the world in search of these rituals, she is not at all interested in creating a taxonomy of world peoples. Rather, her images are powerfully self-reflexive. “It would not be wrong to assert that for Solomon, every portrait is truly a self-portrait, a test of the self against another self” (Rosenheim, Rosalind Solomon: Disconnections).  Solomon sees herself in ‘the other’, and her work as a photographer can be viewed as serving a particularly personal purpose, “…to try to integrate what I see and know as the realities of the world with the realities of my life” (Rosalind Solomon)---this is the inherent strength and power of Solomon’s work. The viewer, potentially or initially struck by the foreignness of the places, cultures and rituals captured in Solomon’s images, can begin to navigate the “private feelings and struggles” of the artist-- a consistent voice emerges. This is also the case with the notion of ritual in Solomon’s work; while seemingly disparate, and enacted for varying purposes, the similarities and necessities of these rituals and their place in our human culture becomes readily apparent.


On each Saturday during the span of the exhibition, Solomon’s film, A Woman I Once Knew, 2009, directed by Rosalind Solomon, will be screened at Bruce Silverstein / 20. This recent film, similar to Solomon’s earlier film works, is a bold and personal representation of the artist’s life and body.  

Solomon has been the recipient of the John Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, an American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her work is in the collections of over 50 museums, including Bibliothèque Nationale de France; Center for Creative Photography; Corcoran Gallery of Art; George Eastman House; Metropolitan Museum; Museo de Arte de Lima; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Modern Art; National Gallery of Art; National Gallery of Canada; Photographische Sammlung, Cologne; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Most recently, Solomon participated in an exhibition at the Aperture Foundation entitled Lisette Model & Her Successors. Her previous solo exhibition at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, Inside Out, took place in March of 2008. Solomon works and lives in New York City.

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