Guggenheim Museum Present Retrospective of Rineke Dijkstra, 6/29-10/3


From June 29 to October 3, 2012, the Guggenheim Museum will present Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective, an extensive midcareer survey and the first major exhibition of the artist's work organized by a North American institution. It is the most comprehensive museum exhibition of the artist's oeuvre to date.

Dijkstra, born in Sittard, the Netherlands, in 1959, has developed an international reputation as one of the most highly regarded photographers of her generation. The exhibition will include representative examples from the most significant bodies of work she has created over the past twenty years. The retrospective is co-organized with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it opened to the public in February 2012, and will feature more than 70 color photographs and five video installations. The exhibition is curated by Jennifer Blessing, Senior Curator, Photography, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Sandra S. Phillips, Senior Curator, Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective is organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

This exhibition is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam. The New York presentation of the exhibition is supported in part by the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Netherlands Cultural Services, and the Leadership Committee for the Guggenheim Museum's 2012 Photography Exhibitions: Marian Goodman Gallery, Henry Buhl, and Eugene Sadovoy, as well as by Ann and Steven Ames, Lori and Alexandre Chemla, John L. Thomson, and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Since the early 1990s, Rineke Dijkstra has produced a complex body of photographic and video work that offers a contemporary take on the genre of portraiture. Her large-scale color photographs of young, typically adolescent subjects recall 17th-century Dutch painting in their scale and visual acuity. The minimal contextual details present in her photographs and videos encourage us to focus on the exchange between photographer and subject and the relationship between viewer and viewed.

Dijkstra works in series, creating groups of photographs and videos around a specific typology or theme. In 1992, she started making portraits of adolescents posed on beaches from Hilton Head, South Carolina, to Poland and Ukraine. Shot from a low perspective, the subjects of the Beach Portraits (1992–2002), poised on the brink of adulthood, take on a monumental presence. In contemporaneous works, including portraits of new mothers after giving birth and photographs of bullfighters immediately after leaving the ring, Dijkstra sought subjects whose physical exhaustion diminished the likelihood of an artificial pose.

Dijkstra has also photographed individuals repeatedly over the course of several months or years. Her ongoing Almerisa series began in 1994 with a single photograph of a young Bosnian girl at a Dutch refugee center for asylum seekers and has grown as Dijkstra continued to photograph her regularly for more than a decade as she became a young woman with a child of her own. The outward signs of her transition into adulthood and her integration into mainstream Dutch culture reveal themselves incrementally over the course of many years. Similarly, the Olivier series (2000–03) follows a young man from his enlistment with the French Foreign Legion through the years of his service, showing his both physical and psychological development into a soldier. Later, Dijkstra took portraits of new initiates to the Israeli army, photographing female soldiers in their uniforms after induction and then again in their civilian dress, as well as male soldiers directly after military exercises.

For several years beginning in 1998, Dijkstra photographed young people, often in groups, posed in the lush landscapes of public parks. In contrast to the neutral backgrounds against which many of her subjects are pictured, the richness of the park settings lends these works a greater depth of field and adds a narrative element.

More recently, Dijkstra has built upon her revelatory work in video from the mid-1990s. In The Buzz Club, Liverpool, UK/Mystery World, Zaandam, NL (1996–97) and The Krazyhouse (Megan, Simon, Nicky, Philip, Dee), Liverpool, UK (2009), Dijkstra filmed teenage habituées of local clubs dancing to their favorite music. Presented as multichannel video installations, these works showcase their subjects' teen personas and methods of self-expression, revealed in how they style themselves and in the movements of their bodies. Two video works made in 2009 at Tate Liverpool expand the artist's interest in the empathic exchange between photographer and subject to include the affective response to artworks. In I See a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman) (2009), a group of schoolchildren engage with art, discussing their perceptions of and reactions to a work by Pablo Picasso, while Ruth Drawing Picasso (2009) shows a girl pensively sketching a masterwork.

The retrospective draws from each of Dijkstra's series of work. The presentation at the Guggenheim will be installed in a loosely chronological order in all four of the museum's Annex galleries, on multiple levels of the building. Dijkstra's video work will be fully integrated into the presentation.

Dijkstra was born in Sittard, the Netherlands, in 1959. She studied photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1981 to 1986. Since her first solo exhibitions, at de Moor in Amsterdam in the early 1980s, Dijkstra has shown at the Sprengel Museum Hannover (1998); the Herzliya Museum of Art, Israel, and MACBA, Barcelona (1999); the Art Institute of Chicago and ICA Boston (2001); and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2005), in an exhibition that traveled to several venues, including the Jeu de Paume, Paris; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Fundació la Caixa, Barcelona; and the Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague. Dijkstra has also exhibited widely in group shows, including the Venice Biennale (1997 and 2001), the Bienal de São Paulo (1998), and the Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography, New York (2003), among many others. She has received wide recognition and numerous awards for her work, including the Kodak Award Nederland, the Art Encouragement Award Amstelvee, the Werner Mantz Award, and the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize.

Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring essays by the exhibition's cocurators, Jennifer Blessing and Sandra S. Phillips, as well as an interview with the artist, texts about various bodies of work, and interviews with several of Dijkstra's portrait subjects, along with her most comprehensive exhibition history and bibliography to date. Designed by the Dutch firm Mevis & van Deursen, this 260-page catalogue will feature 137 color plates and 47 text illustrations in both color and black and white and will be available in hardcover and softcover editions for $55 and $35, respectively. It is published by the Guggenheim Museum and distributed to the trade in the United States by D.A.P. Catalogues are available at the Guggenheim Store and online at

Education and Public Programs
A range of public programs will be presented in conjunction with Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective. Details may be found on Highlights include:

Guided Tours
Free with museum admission.

Curator's Eye
Led by exhibition curators
Fri, July 6, 2 pm: Jennifer Blessing
Fri, Aug 24, 2 pm: Susan Thompson

Conservator's Eye
Led by museum conservators
Fri, Sept 28, 2 pm: Jeffrey Warda

Elaine Terner Cooper Education Fund: Conversations with Contemporary Artists
Rineke Dijkstra and Paul Graham
Tues, July 17, 6:30 pm
On the occasion of her retrospective, Rineke Dijkstra joins Paul Graham, the winner of the 2012 Hasselblad Award, to speak about shared artistic concerns and distinct critical practices in image making. Moderated by Jennifer Blessing, Senior Curator, Photography. Reception follows. $10, $7 members, free for students with RSVP. For tickets, visit or call the Box Office at 212 423 3587.

Empathy, Affect, and the Photographic Image
Fri, Sept 21, 4 pm
Leading scholars discuss the role that empathy plays in the interactions among photographer, subject, and viewer. Organized by Jennifer Blessing, Senior Curator, Photography, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and moderated by George Baker, Associate Professor and Vice Chair, Art History, University of California, Los Angeles. Reception follows. $10, $7 members, free for students with RSVP. For tickets, visit or call 212 423 3587.

Film Screenings
Fridays, June 15–Sept 28, 1 pm
Providing a rich context for visitors, weekly film screenings are organized into thematic series relating to current exhibitions, including Rineke Dijkstra Selects. Free with museum admission. For a complete schedule, visit

Public & Artist Interactions with Karen Finley: Creative Act
Mon–Fri, July 16–20, 10 am–1 pm
Public & Artist Interactions is a program that invites contemporary artists to be collaborative partners in the creation of unique learning experiences. This weeklong intensive course explores 1950s globalism, the emergence of image culture in the postwar years, contemporary portraiture, and the nature of subjectivity. Taught by internationally acclaimed artist and educator Karen Finley, daily sessions include gallery talks, studio exercises, and a final reflection. $300, $200 members, $150 students (over 18). No experience required. Additional studio time and July 17 artist conversation with Rineke Dijkstra and Paul Graham included and strongly recommended. To register, visit

Summer Sunday Family Tours
Sundays, July 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29
10:30 am–noon
Family-oriented tours incorporate conversation and creative hands-on gallery activities. For families with children ages 5-10. $15 per family, $10 members, free for Family Members and Cool Culture families. Registration required at 212 423 3587, Mon–Fri, 1–5 pm. For more information, visit

Tours include:

Revealing Portraits
Sun, July 1
When creating a portrait an artist can share a lot about the person they are portraying. Participants will become acquainted with the portraits in the Guggenheim's galleries.

Shake It Up!
Sun, July 8
Families will discover different ways that artists capture movement in their work.

Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective for Families
Sun, July 29
A family tour will focus on works in the retrospective.

Art After Dark
Fri, July 13, 9 pm–midnight
Guests will enjoy the summer exhibitions with a playlist of songs selected by Rineke Dijkstra. Free for members, $18 guests and general public (credit card only at the door). Cash bar. For details, visit

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. Currently the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation owns and operates the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, and provides programming and management for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin is the result of a collaboration, begun in 1997, between the Guggenheim Foundation and Deutsche Bank. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Frank Gehry on Saadiyat Island, adjacent to the main island of Abu Dhabi city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is currently in progress. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.orgv.

Admission: Beginning on June 8, adults $20, students/seniors (65+) $17, members and children under 12 free. Admission includes an audio tour featuring Rineke Dijkstra speaking along with two subjects documented in her work, offered in English, and an audio tour with highlights of the Guggenheim’s Permanent Collection and building available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Museum Hours: Sun–Wed, 10 am–5:45 pm; Fri, 10 am–5:45 pm; Sat, 10 am–7:45 pm; closed Thurs. On Saturdays, beginning at 5:45 pm, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. For general information, call 212 423 3500 or visit the museum online at:

Photo Credit: Rineke Dijkstra