A major mid-career survey of renown photographer Catherine Opie opens this week at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Catherine Opie: American Photographer opens Friday September 26th and runs through January 7, 2009. The exhibition will showcase over 200 of Opie’s iconic images from the past decades. Opie’s “Portraits” clinched her a place on the map of art history, depicting bold statements of identity for a marginalized and often villanized subculture during the 1990s within the visual context of a formal studio portrait. Most notably, her piece, Dyke (1993) brought the discussion of lesbianism, within not only the paradigm of feminist art, but that of “mainstream” cultural relevance, to the forefront. Dyke depicts the naked, freckled back of a shaved-headed woman facing a rich velvet backdrop of purple damask. The word DYKE is tattooed in thick black Old English font across the back of her neck. There have been many interpretations of this piece, dealing with the very term “Dyke” and whether it is in fact a disparaging label to attach to someone or a pronouncement of pride from that same person.
Catherine Opie lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is also a professor of fine art at UCLA. Opie’s work has been featured in acclaimed exhibitions in the United States and Europe. She has had solo exhibitions at, and which traveled to, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Orange County Museum of Art in California, The Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, The Saint Louis Art Museum, the Photographers’ Gallery in London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, as well as at Regan Projects in Los Angeles and Gladstone Gallery in New York.