Modus Operandi: Contemporary Photography from the collection of BNY Mellon 

Photo Credit Bluebeard Reinier Gerritsen, 2009. Courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York, New York.

January 15 – April 15, 2019

The act of making a photograph can go far beyond simply “snapping a picture,” and in the case of many artists working today, may not involve the use of a traditional camera at all.  The photographs in this exhibition speak to the heart of contemporary art practice.  The artists featured here employ innovative methods – sometimes technical, sometimes conceptual – that embody the often performative nature of photography.   

Far from its beginnings as a means of documenting the real world, photography has evolved into a myriad of processes creating a myriad of new worlds.  Whether working with a camera, computer or exclusively in the darkroom, photographers today are creating images that communicate ideas to a global audience.  From the ghostly exposures of Walead Beshty’s Transparencies, created by security equipment in airports, to the elaborately orchestrated performance projects of Alex Prager, photographers have decidedly crossed the once clearly defined lines between image and action.

In building this collection, we have been keen to recognize the elevated position photographers now hold in an art world once dominated by painters and sculptors. In fact, many of these artists are painters and sculptors, as well as filmmakers and performers, themselves. Modus Operandi brings together an adventurous group of contemporary image-makers, offering a glimpse into the potential of this ever-expanding medium.