Campus: CSU Long Beach -- February 18, 2004

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Awards $75,000 Grant to University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded a $75,000 grant to the University Art Museum (UAM) at California State University, Long Beach to help support an exhibition of photographs by celebrated German photographer Candida Höfer. It is the largest grant the art museum has ever received from the NEA.

Titled “Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence,” the exhibition is being presented in partnership with the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla., and it is expected to run at Cal State Long Beach from January through April 2005. The exhibit will travel to two to four additional venues beyond the UAM and Norton Museum of Art, and it will be accompanied by a major catalogue to be published by Aperture, a well-known photography publishing house.

Project co-curators for the exhibit include Constance Glenn, director and chief curator of the UAM, Mary-Kay Lombino, UAM curator of exhibitions, and Virginia Heckert, curator of photography for the Norton Museum of Art. All three will also author essays for the catalogue.

“‘Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence’ has been in the planning stages since my visit to her Cologne studio in 1997. We are especially pleased that, at this stage of the project, the NEA has elected to become the primary sponsor,” Glenn said. “Höfer’s stunning photographs are represented in the University Art Museum collection as well as the collection of the Norton Museum of Art, and viewers who have seen even one image will be thrilled at the opportunity to see a broad spectrum of her work.”

Höfer, 59, is a member of the “Becher Circle,” a group of noted students of Düsseldorf’s renowned Bernd and Hilla Becher. Other students include Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky and Axel Hütte, but Höfer is the only member of that group whose work has had little or no exposure in North American museums.

The “Becher Circle” of photographers emphasize straight-forward architecturally anonymous photographs that take on additional serial meaning. The work of this group has been noted for its extreme clarity, which, in that very clearness, creates interpretive ambiguity.

Employing available light, Höfer photographs rooms deeply invested with the richness of human activity but with few or no people present. Using often monumentally-scaled interiors, she approaches her images with a minimalist, detached style.

The 50 exhibition images will come primarily from Höfer through her Cologne gallery, and each of the large-scale works will be illustrated in the accompanying full-color catalogue.

The NEA awards grants to nonprofit national, regional, state and local organizations to finance projects in the categories of creativity, services to arts organizations and artists, literature fellowships and leadership initiatives.

“From enlivening and diversifying our literary culture through university and independent presses to placing artists in residencies at high-technology corporations to producing new operas, plays and ballets,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the endowment, “these projects enhance the artistic quality and availability of the arts across the country.”

Media Contacts: Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454,
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727,

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