Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide / © 1968, Eastman Kodak Company, 1968 / (Meiko laughing) / Vancouver, B.C. / April 6, 2005. 2005. Chromogenic color print. Paper: 20 x 24″ (50.8 x 61 cm); framed: 34 x 37 3/4″ (86.4 x 95.9 cm). Glenstone. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). TecTake Luxus Strandkorb grau/weiß / Model no.: 400636 / Material: wood/plastic / Dimensions (height/width/depth): 154 cm × 116 cm × 77 cm / Weight: 49 kg / Manufactured by Ningbo Jin Mao Import & Export Co., Ltd, / Ningbo, Zhejiang, China for TecTake GmbH, Igersheim, Germany / Model: Zimra Geurts, Playboy Netherlands Playmate of the Year 2012 / Studio Rhein Verlag, Düsseldorf / February 1, 2013 / (Zimra stretching). 2013. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 19 7/8 × 23 3/4″ (50.5 × 60.3 cm); framed: 37 3/8 × 33 7/8″ (94.9 × 86 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Photography Fund © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Cutaway model Nikon EM. Shutter: / Electronically governed Seiko metal blade shutter vertical travel with speeds from 1/1000 to 1 second with a manual speed of 1/90th. / Meter: Center-weighted Silicon Photo Diode, ASA 25-1600 / EV2-18 (with ASA film and 1.8 lens) / Aperture Priority automatic exposure / Lens Mount: Nikon F mount, AI coupling (and later) only / Flash: Synchronization at 1/90 via hot shoe / Flash automation with Nikon SB-E or SB-10 flash units / Focusing: K type focusing screen, not user interchangeable, with 3mm diagonal split image rangefinder / Batteries: Two PX-76 or equivalent / Dimensions: 5.3 × 3.38 × 2.13 in. (135 × 86 × 54 mm), 16.2 oz (460g) / Photography by the Douglas M. Parker Studio, Glendale, California / September 9, 2007- September 13, 2007. 2008. Chromogenic color print. Paper: 20 x 24″ (50 .8 x 61 cm), framed: 29 15/16 x 37 3/16″ (76 x 94.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of Helen Kornblum in honor of Roxana Marcoci and Committee on Photography Fund. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Cutaway model Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZM / Focal length: 15mm. Aperture range: 2.8 - 22. No. of elements/groups: 11/9 / Focusing range: 0.3 m-infinity. Image ratio at close range: 1:18 / Coverage at close range: 43 cm × 65 cm. Angular field, diag./horiz./vert.: / 110/100/77? / Filter: M 72 × 0.75. Weight: 500 g. Length: 86 mm / Product no. black: 30 82016. Serial no.: 15555891. / (Subject to change.) / Manufactured by Carl Zeiss AG, Camera Lens Division, Oberkochen, Germany / Studio Rhein Verlag, Düsseldorf / January 18, 2013. 2013. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 16 × 20″ (40.6 × 50.8 cm); framed: 30 1/2 × 33 3/8″ (77.5 × 84.8 cm). Private collection © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Fig. 2: Loading the film (ORWO NP15 135-36 ASA 25, Manufactured by VEB Filmfabrik Wolfen, Wolfen, German Democratic Republic) / Exakta Varex IIa / 35 mm film SLR camera / Manufactured by Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen & Co, Dresden, German Democratic Republic / Body serial no. 979625 (Production period: 1960-1963) / Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar / 50mm f/2.8 lens / Manufactured by VEB Carl Zeiss Jena, Jena, / German Democratic Republic / Serial no. 8034351 (Production period: 1967-1970) / Model: Christoph Boland / Studio Thomas Borho, Oberkasseler Str. 39, Düsseldorf, Germany / June 25, 2012. 2012. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 20 x 24″ (50.8 x 61 cm), framed: 33 3/8 x 37 3/8″ (84.7 x 94.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of David Dechman and Michel Mercure in honor of Joel Wachs. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Bergische Bauernscheune, Junkersholz / Leichlingen, September 29th, 2009. 2010. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 20 x 24″ (50.8 x 61 cm); framed: 32 7/8 x 37 1/16″ (83.5 x 94.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Photography Fund. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams' Vast and Varied Critiques of Capitalism

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Pacific Sea Nettle / Chrysaora Melanaster / Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific / 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California / July 9, 2008. 2009. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 14 x 14″ (35.6 x 35.6 cm); framed: 28 3/4 x 28 1/4″ (73 x 71.8 cm). Collection of Constance R. Caplan. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Erratum / AGFA Color (oversaturated) / Camera: Robertson Process Model 31 580 Serial #F97-116 / Lens: Apo Nikkor 455 mm stopped down to f90 / Lighting: 16,000 Watts Tungsten 3200 degrees Kelvin / Film: Kodak Plus-X Pan ASA 125 / Kodak Pan Masking for contrast and colour correction / Film developer: Kodak HC-110 Dilution B (1:7) used @ 68 degrees Fahrenheit / Exposure and development times (in minutes): / Exposure Development / Red Filter Kodak Wratten PM25 2´30创 4´40创 / Green Filter Kodak Wratten PM61 10´20创 3´30创 / Blue Filter Kodak Wratten PM47B 7´00创 7´00创 / Paper: Fujicolor Crystal Archive Type C Glossy / Chemistry: Kodak RA-4 / Processor: Tray. 2000. Chromogenic color print. Paper: 14 × 11″ (35.6 × 27.9 cm); framed: 29 3/4 × 25 3/8″ (75.6 × 64.5 cm). Kravis Collection. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Fig. 4: Changing the shutter speed / Exakta Varex IIa / 35 mm film SLR camera / Manufactured by Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen & Co, Dresden, German Democratic Republic / Body serial no. 979625 (Production period: 1960-1963) / Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar / 50mm f/2.8 lens / Manufactured by VEB Carl Zeiss Jena, Jena, / German Democratic Republic / Serial no. 8034351 (Production period: 1967-1970) / Model: Christoph Boland / Studio Thomas Borho, Oberkasseler Str. 39, Düsseldorf, Germany / June 19, 2012. 2012. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 24 x 20″ (61 x 50.8 cm), framed: 37 3/8 x 33 3/8″ (94.8 x 84.7 cm). Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Fachhochschule Aachen / Fachbereich Gestaltung / Studiengang: Visuelle Kommunikation / Fotolabor für Studenten / Boxgraben 100, Aachen / November 8, 2010. 2010. Pigmented inkjet print.  Paper: 24 x 20″ (61 x 50.8 cm); framed: 38 1/4 x 33″ (97.2 x 83.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Photography Fund. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams,

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). RITTERSPORT / Von oben nach unten/from top to bottom / 100g Tafeln/100 g Bars / Offizieller Produktname/Official Product Name/Ean Code Bar/ / UPC Code for Case/Bars per Case / Voll Nuss/ Whole Hazelnuts/4000417019004/050255013005/10 / Joghurt/Yogurt/4004170270 09/ 0525502700/12 / Voll Erdnuss/4000417266202/…/10 / Weisse Voll Nuss/ White Whole Hazelnuts/4000417013002/ / 050255013003/10 / Marzipan/Marzipan/40041725005/050255025006/12 / Cappucino/Cappuccino/40004172300 03/0550255230042/12 / Fotostudio Axel Gnad, Düsseldorf / October 21, 2008 (No. 1). 2009. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 20 x 24″ (50.8 x 61 cm); framed: 33 5/8 x 37 1/8″ (85.4 x 94.3 cm). Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky © Christopher Williams

 

Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53rd Street
212-708-9400
New York
The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art Exhibition Gallery
sixth floor
Christopher Williams:
The Production Line of Happiness
July 27, 2014-November 02, 2014

Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness — the first retrospective ever mounted of Christopher Williams (American, b. 1956) — spans the impressive 35-year career of one of the most influential cinephilic artists working in photography. Williams studied at the California Institute of the Arts in the mid to late 1970s under the first wave of West Coast Conceptual artists, including John Baldessari, Douglas Huebler, and Michael Asher, only to become his generation’s leading Conceptualist and art professor; he is currently professor of photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Deeply invested in the histories of photography and film, Williams, who now runs an auteurist studio, has produced a concise oeuvre that furthers a critique of late capitalist society in which images typically function as agents of spectacle.

For the title of this exhibition, Williams has taken a line from a documentary by French director Jean-Luc Godard, in which an amateur filmmaker compares his daily job as a factory worker with his hobby of editing his films of the Swiss countryside as “the production line of happiness.” In Williams’s hands the phrase appears to refer broadly to the function of much photography in today’s consumer culture, in which it not only pictures but also produces so many experiences and objects to be consumed.

The Production Line of Happiness features Williams’s little-seen Super-8 shorts, major projects from the 1980s to the early 1990s, and photographs from his subsequent magnum series For Example: Die Welt ist schön (The world is beautiful) (1993-2001) and For Example: Dix-huit leçons sur la société industrielle (Eighteen lessons on industrial society) (2003-today). Though the exhibition concentrates on photography, other salient aspects of Williams’s practice, such as extensive vinyl “supergraphics” and interventions with display architecture, are also represented. As part of MoMA’s Carte Blanche screening series, Williams will organize a two-week experimental film program running July 23-29 and September 17-23, 2014, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters. After its presentation at MoMA, the exhibition travels to Whitechapel Gallery, London, where it will be organized by Mark Godfrey, Curator of International Art, Tate Modern. At The Art Institute of Chicago , the exhibition was organized by Matthew S. Witkovsky, Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator, Department of Photography, AIC.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illuminating and unusual volume, in equal parts artist’s book and exhibition catalogue, which includes a trio of essays by curators Mark Godfrey, Roxana Marcoci, and Matthew S. Witkovsky that reflect on Williams’s engagement with his artistic peers and predecessors, with cinema (particularly the film-essay), and with modes of display and publicity in the art world. These contributions are “interrupted” by a transcript of a talk Williams delivered on the work of John Chamberlain, and by historical and contemporary textual and visual materials that were selected by the artist himself.

The exhibition is co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art and The Art Institute of Chicago.

The exhibition is organized by Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator, with Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography.

Major support for the MoMA presentation of the exhibition is provided by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation and by The William Randolph Hearst Endowment Fund.

Additional funding is provided by The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, Emily Glasser and William Susman, Joseph M. Cohen, Keli Lee, and the MoMA Annual Exhibition Fund.

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Clockwise from Manufacturer Name (Outer Ring) / Michelin zX / Treadwear 200 / Traction A / Temperature B / Clockwise from Tire Size (Inner Ring) / 135 SR 15 / 723 E2 0177523 / Tubeless / Radial X / Made In France / TN 2148 20-2044 / Tread: 1 Polyester Ply / + 2 Steel Plies / Sidewall: 1 Polyester Ply / DOT FH PI AID X0607 / Canada and U.S. Codes Only / Max Load 355 Kg (780 Lbs) / Max Press. 350 kPa (51 PSI) / V-1 / Photography by the Douglas M. Parker Studio, Glendale, California / December 27, 2007-January 2, 2008. 2008. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 24 x 20″ (61 x 50.8 cm); framed: 37 3/16 x 37 11/16″ (94.5 x 95.7 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Weimar Lux CDS, VEB Feingerätewerk Weimar / Price 86.50 Mark GDR / Filmempfindlichkeitsbereich 9 bis 45 DIN und 6 bis 25000 ASA / Blendenskala 0,5 bis 45, Zeitskala 1/4000 Sekunde bis 8 Stunden, ca. 1980 / Models: Ellena Borho and Christoph Boland / November 12, 2010. 2010. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 24 x 20″ (61 x 50.8 cm); framed: 37 1/2 x 32 1/2″ (95.3 x 82.6 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Photography Associates, James and Karen Frank, and Comer Foundation funds, 2011.318. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Untitled (Study in Red) / Dirk Schaper Studio, Berlin / April 30, 2009. 2009. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 14 x 11″ (35.6 x 27.9 cm); framed: 27 3/4 x 25″ (70.5 x 63.5 cm). Collection of Constance R. Caplan © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Mustafa Kinte (Gambia) / Camera: Makina 67 506347 / Plaubel Feinmechanik und Optik GmbH / Borsigallee 37 / 60388 Frankfurt am Main, Germany / Shirt: Van Laack Shirt Kent 64 / 41061 Mönchengladbach, Germany / Dirk Schaper Studio, Berlin / July 20, 2007. 2007. Gelatin silver print, paper: 20 × 16″ (50.8 × 40.6 cm); framed: 33 3/4 × 29 1/4″ (85.7 × 74.3 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, restricted gift of Artworkers Retirement Society, 2013.1097. Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams.

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Main Staircase for the Arts Club Chicago, 1948-51 / Steel, travertine marble / 359.4 × 458.8 × 609.3 cm / (141 1/2 × 180 5/8 × 239 7/8″) / Arts Club commission 1948-1951 / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe / 109 East Ontario Street, / Chicago, Illinois, 1951-1995 / Repositioned by John Vinci / 210 East Ontario Street, / Chicago, Illinois / October 1, 1998. 1998. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 14 x 11″ (35.6 x 28 cm); framed: 26 x 30″ (66 x 76.2 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Jacob and Bessie Levy Art Encouragement Fund, 2004.18 © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide / © 1968, Eastman Kodak Company, 1968 / (Corn) / Photography by the Douglas M. Parker Studio, Glendale, California / April 17, 2003. 2003. Dye transfer print. Paper: 16 x 20″ (40.6 x 50.8 cm); framed: 29 1/8 x 32 1/8 (74 x 81.6 cm). Collection of Thomas Struth, Berlin © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Sri Lanka, 1989 / Blaschka Model 694, 1903 / Genus no. 1318 / Family, Musaceae / Musa rosacea Jacq. / (from Angola to Vietnam*). 1989. Gelatin silver print, paper: 11 x 14″ (27.9 x 35.6 cm); framed: 18 13/16 x 21 7/8″ (47.8 x 55.6 cm). The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The El Paso Natural Gas Company Fund for California Art, 89.34, Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner, New York/London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne © Christopher Williams,

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Model: 1964 Renault Dauphine-Four, R-1095 / Body Type & Seating: 4-dr-sedan-4 to 5 persons / Engine Type: 14/52 Weight: 1397 lbs. Price: $1,495.00 USD (original) / ENGINE DATA: / Base Four: inline, overhead-valve four-cylinder / Cast iron block and aluminum head. W/removable cylinder sleeves. / Displacement : 51.5 cu. in. (845 oc.) / Bore and Stroke: 2.23 × 3.14 in. (58 × 80 mm) / Compression ratio: 7.25:1 Brake Horsepower: 32 (SAE) at 4200 rpm / Torque: 50 lbs. at 2000 rpm. Three main bearings. Solid valve lifters. / Single downdraft carburetor / CHASSIS DATA: / Wheelbase 89 in. Overall length, 155 in. Height: 57 in. / Width: 60 in. Front thread: 49 in. Rear thread: 48 in. / Standard Tires: 5.50 × 15 TECHNICAL: / Layout: rear engine, rear drive. Transmission: four speed manual / Steering: rack and pinion. Suspension (front): independent coil springs. / Suspension (back): independent with swing axles and coil springs. Brakes: / front/rear disc. Body construction: steel unibody. / PRODUCTION DATA: / Sales 18,432 sold in U.S. in 1964 (all types) / Manufacturer: Régie Nationale des Usines Renault; Billancourt, France / Distributor: Renault Inc., New York, NY., U.S.A. / Serial number: R-10950059799 / Engine Number: Type 670-05 # 191563 / California License Plate number: UOU 087 / Vehicle ID number: 0059799 (For R.R.V.) / Los Angeles, California / January 15, 2000 (No. 6). 2000. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 11 x 14″ (28 x 35.6 cm); framed: 26 × 30″ (66 × 76.2 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Emilie L. Wild Fund, 2004.21 © Christopher Williams.

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Model #105M - R59C / Keystone Shower Door / 57.4 × 59创 / Chrome/Raindrop / SKU #109149 / #96235. 970 - 084 - 000 / (Meiko) / Vancouver, B.C / April 6, 2005 (No. 1). 2005. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 16 x 20″ (40.6 × 50.8 cm); framed: 29 15/16 x 37 3/8″ (76 x 94.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Untitled (Study in Yellow and Green/East Berlin) / Studio Thomas Borho, Oberkasseler Str. 39, Düsseldorf, Germany / July 7, 2012. 2012. Pigmented inkjet print. Paper: 16 x 20″ (40.6 x 50.8 cm); framed: 30 1/4 x 33 1/2″ (76.8 x 85.1 cm). Katherine and Keith L. Sachs © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Model #105M - R59C / Keystone Shower Door / 57.4 × 59创 / Chrome/Raindrop / SKU #109149 / #96235. 970 - 084 - 000 / (Meiko) / Vancouver, B.C / April 6, 2005 (No. 1). 2005. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 16 x 20″ (40.6 × 50.8 cm); framed: 29 15/16 x 37 3/8″ (76 x 94.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art © Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams (American, born 1956). Model #105M - R59C / Keystone Shower Door / 57.4 × 59创 / Chrome/Raindrop / SKU #109149 / #96235. 970 - 084 - 000 / (Meiko) / Vancouver, B.C / April 6, 2005 (No. 1). 2005. Gelatin silver print. Paper: 16 x 20″ (40.6 × 50.8 cm); framed: 29 15/16 x 37 3/8″ (76 x 94.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art © Christopher Williams