In conversation through an interpreter on a second trip to the museums, Freeberg learned that the women loved their jobs, and felt proud to be guarding such important pieces of history. One woman told him that she traveled three hours to work each day, and another visited the museum even on her days off. Sometimes playful and always dignified, Freeberg's lush images pronounce admiration for the guardians who so revere the art that surrounds them.
Considering photographs that investigate a viewing environment encourages a certain awareness of our own context and how we experience art. Guardians acknowledges the pride that these women feel in proximity to such masterpieces, asking us to tune into our own reactions. Freeberg slows down the hurried museumgoer by framing moments, inviting us to take a breath and pause - to notice the beauty not just in art, but also in the details we so often overlook.
Andy Freeberg was born in 1958 in New York City. After studying photography at the University of Michigan, he returned to New York, where he began making a living shooting portraits for various publications including The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and Time. Freeberg's recent work focuses on environments where art and people co-exist, providing a commentary on various facets of the art world. His work has been exhibited internationally, with solo shows at Photographic Center Northwest (Seattle) and Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center (Stanford, CA). His work is in several collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Portland Museum of Art, and the George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography. The Guardians project won Photolucida's Critical Mass book award, in which a group of 200 jurors honors an artist with a monograph.
Andrea Meislin Gallery is located at 534 West 24th Street, New York, NY. The opening reception is set for tonight, January 24th, 6-8pm. An artist talk with Clifford J. Levy will take place on Saturday, January 26th, 2pm.
Pictured: Andy Freeberg, Pyotr Konchalovsky's Family Portrait, State Tretyakov Gallery, 2008. Archival pigment print.