Beginning next month, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will debut the first-ever landscape architecture-focused exhibition in the Hostetter gallery. Composite Landscapes: Photomontage and Landscape Architecture will gather works from influential contemporary artists and a dozen leading landscape architects to examine one of landscape architecture’s most recognizable representational forms—the montage view.
“The practice of montage, the overlay or superimposition of one image over another to produce a composite image, is as old as image making itself,” said Charles Waldheim, Ruettgers Consulting Curator of Landscape at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “Photomontage, or montage using photographic images, has been practiced since the origins of photography itself. Various forms of photomontage emerged as critical and conceptual tools across a range of the visual arts throughout the twentieth century.”
Robert Littman Floating in My Pool, David Hockney Gallery
Composite views aim to reveal the practices of photomontage that depict the conceptual, experiential, and temporal dimensions of landscape. The first exhibition of its kind in North America, Composite Landscapes illustrates the diversity of an analog method now made nearly obsolete due to the evolving digital world. In revisiting the composite landscape view through a cultural lens, Composite Landscapes shines light on the current state of the photographically constructed image for design disciplines and beyond.
“Montage has been found to be particularly well suited to representing the temporal, phenomenal, and transformational aspects of landscape,” Waldheim said. “The practice of photomontage has been found particularly relevant by landscape architects over the past quarter century, and is arguably the field's dominant visual paradigm today.”
John Stezaker Mask XLVI, The Approach Gallery
The introductory gallery will feature original works by a half dozen of the 20th-century’s leading practitioners of photomontage including David Hockney, Jan Dibbets, John Stezaker, and Superstudio. In addition to these original works, the introductory gallery will feature historical antecedents to the practice of landscape montage from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries including work by Humphry Repton, Booth Grey, Charles Eliot, and James Corner. The main gallery will feature original works by a dozen of the world’s leading landscape architects including Adriaan Geuze, James Corner, Yves Brunier, Ken Smith, Dieter Kienast, and Michael Van Valkenburgh.
Along with the exhibition, there will be various landscape focused educational programs and walking tours taking place throughout the summer.
Gary Hilderbrand, Glass House Relfections II, Private Collection
On Thursday, June 27, Robin Kelsey, Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, Harvard University; Gary Hilderbrand, Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University; Andrea Hansen, assistant curator, “Composite Landscapes: Photomontage and Landscape Architecture,” and Waldheim will gather for a lecture and panel discussion entitled “Landscape as Photomontage,” to kick-off the exhibition at 7:00 p.m. in the Calderwood Hall.
On Saturday, July 13 at 11:00 a.m. and Thursday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. a gallery tour and talk, entitled “Touring the Composite Landscape,” will take place. Guests are invited to join the curator for a guided tour and informal gallery talk on the exhibition.
Programs include museum admission and require a ticket; tickets can be reserved online, in person at the door, or by phone at 617-278-5156. Museum admission: Adults $15, Seniors $12, Students $5, Free for Members.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an intimate collection of fine and decorative art and a vibrant, innovative venue for contemporary artists, musicians and scholars. Housed in a 1902 building, modeled after a 15th century Venetian palazzo, and a 2012 wing, designed by Renzo Piano, the Museum provides an unusual backdrop for the viewing of art. The Collection galleries installed in rooms surrounding the verdant Courtyard contain more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, rare books and decorative arts featuring works by Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Manet, Degas, Whistler and Sargent.
The exhibition will be on view from June 27 - September 2.