Hirshhorn Plaza

JUN 16, 2014-SEP 1, 2014 (Second Level)
Sitebound invited viewers to consider the distinct qualities of a physical or temporal site through the supposedly objective means of photography. The works presented, which included several recent acquisitions, explored a wide range of themes, including leisure, landscape, shifting city infrastructures, genetic relations, and memory—both historical and personal, real and imagined.

Cinema, Anaheim, California—part of a series created by Thomas Struth at Disneyland—captures a normally active space at a still moment, laying bare the physical mechanisms behind a virtual-reality experience. Catherine Opie’s Inauguration series documents Washington, DC, before, during, and after the swearing-in of the nation’s first African American president. Each of the photographs in Laurel Nakadate’s Relations series depicts a distant relative whom the artist tracked down on genealogical websites and arranged to photograph at a remote location at night. Together, the images constitute both an indirect form of self-portraiture and a uniquely American family album. In Chapter V, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII, Taryn Simon also explores bloodlines, recording the incidents of chance and fate that surround a South Korean citizen abducted by North Korea.

Each of these works extends the concept of documentary photography in ways that allow for imagination and conjecture, and the sites that are at the core of these images emphasize identification and investigation.