The Frye Art Museum is pleased to present Amie Siegel: Interiors,12 an exhibition in which the artist considers objects and their perceived value, investigating undercurrents of power and desire active within connoisseurship and image-making. Through the complex, meticulously constructed works that are her signature, Siegel explores how hierarchies of ownership, display, and the production of images—constructs of the human mind as well as the museum—influence cultural and aesthetic worth. 

  • 1. The Frye Art Museum will collaborate with the Portland Art Museum on a catalogue coinciding with a forthcoming solo exhibition that will premiere Siegel's new work, Heavy Metal, at PAM in 2018.
  • 2. Amie Siegel (b. 1974, Chicago, USA) works between film, photography, performance and installation. Recent solo exhibitions include the South London Gallery; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum Villa Stuck, Munich; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and the MAK, Vienna. Siegel has participated in group exhibitions at Witte de With, Rotterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Hayward Gallery, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; MoMA PS1; MAXXI Museum, Rome; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Her work is in public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Modern, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her films have been screened at the Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner-Künstlerprogramm and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulton Fellow at The Film Study Center at Harvard University, a recipient of the ICA Boston's Foster Prize, Sundance Institute and Creative Capital Awards.

The Modernists (2010) cross cuts a private archive of a couple’s travel photographs and super-8 films from the 1960s–1980s, the wife continually posing for her husband’s camera before public sculpture the world over. Re-focused and reassembled, the montage of images examines the domestic camera's gendered relationship to sculpture, fashion, and public performance. 

A slow reveal over multiple parts, Provenance (2013) peels back layers of cultural patrimony, rendering the global trade in modernist furniture from architect Le Corbusier's controversial city of Chandigarh, India. The film traces, in reverse, the furniture’s trajectory from wealthy collectors' homes to auctions, restoration, and shipping, back to the furniture's origins in India. Proof (Christie's 19 October, 2013) and the video Lot 248 (2013) portray the sale of Provenance at a Christie's London auction, revealing the work itself as part of the speculative circuit of art and capital it depicts. 

Fetish (2016), filmed at London's Freud Museum, depicts the annual nocturnal cleaning of the psychoanalyst's collection of archeological artifacts, creating parallels between the careful, almost ritualistic removal of dust from the objects and the intimate excavations and disclosures of analysis, both normally hidden from view. The slide projection Surrogates (2016) offers another kind of intense gaze, sequencing photographs of rupture or repair on the bodies of classical female sculpture in the Naples Archaeological Museum.

Fetishization is also an undercurrent in Siegel's treatment of architectural spaces themselves, whether original or remake, artifact or copy. In Double Negative (2015) two black and white 16mm films simultaneously project a sequence of shots of Le Corbusier's iconic white Villa Savoye outside Paris and its doppelgänger, a black copy of the building in Canberra, Australia. Printed on 16mm as a negative image, or “polarity print,” each film reverses dark and light. An HD color video reveals the black Villa Savoye to be an Australian ethnographic institute at work digitizing its collection of anthropological films, photographs, sound recordings, and object artifacts. The architectural clone is itself a space dedicated to copying.

In these multilayered representations of objects operating within mannered, man-made spaces, Siegel maps out the interior mechanisms—visible or invisible, authentic or fictional—that define social and cultural value. 

Amie Siegel: Interiors is curated by Kathleen Forde.