Victor Burgin: Midwest

September 8 - October 22, 2016

Victor Burgin: Midwest

September 8th – October 22nd, 2016

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 8th, 2016


Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to present Midwest, an exhibition of recent digital projection works by Victor Burgin that focus on an oft-mythologized region of the United States. Understood by many to be representative of the larger nation, the Midwest is frequently on the lips and minds of politicians, pundits, and journalists during election cycles. Given the surreal and chaotic presidential politics of 2016, Burgin’s work offers us the opportunity to examine another part of the rich and complicated history of the heartland. Midwest will be on view from September 8th to October 22nd, with an opening reception on Thursday, September 8th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. This is Burgin’s first solo exhibition in New York since 2005, and he will be present at the reception.


Burgin’s recent work focuses on the way specific architectural sites are mediated through memory and fantasy; the way “space” becomes “place.” Using digital tools, he creates verisimilar, hybrid models of image and text that constitute both a virtual and a psychological portrait of a site. Prairie, for example, describes the history of “The Mecca” apartment building, built in 1892 and destroyed almost sixty years later when Mies van der Rohe undertook a redesign and expansion of the Illinois Institute of Design. Combining images and descriptions of van der Rohe’s Crown Hall with those of former Mecca residents, Prairie unearths an erased history, revealing the close links between memory and space.


In Mirror Lake, Burgin contrasts the history of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Seth Peterson Cottage, located in what is now Mirror Lake State Park, Wisconsin, with that of the Winnebago culture and tribe, which was forcefully relocated from that same area to Nebraska in the late 19th century. Burgin’s work positions such architectural sites as the crystallization of our wishes and fears about the past, present, and future. The forgotten stories he illuminates, whether real or imagined, underscore that the built environment is not an isolated, physical construct, but rather a shifting perception layered with many different cultural histories. 


Midwest runs concurrent with two other US exhibitions of Burgin’s work. UK76, which features the artist’s historic photo-text work, opens September 8th at Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery 2nd Floor, New York. On September 15th, the Slought Foundation, in coordination with the University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College, opens Then and Now, which includes Burgin’s significant historic photo-text series US 77 and three recent digital projection works. Burgin will participate in a public conversation with the curators Kaja Silverman and Homay King at Slought’s opening on September 15th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.


Victor Burgin first came to prominence in the late 1960s as one of the originators of Conceptual Art. His work appeared in such key exhibitions as Harald Szeemann's Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form (1969) at the ICA London, and Kynaston McShine's Information (1970) at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Since then, he has had solo exhibitions at the Museum für Gegenwartkunst Siegen, Kunsthalle Bremerhaven, MAMCO Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Mücsarnok Museum, University at Buffalo Art Gallery, Musée d’art moderne Villeneuve d’Ascq, The List Visual Arts Center, Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Musée de la Ville de Calais, The Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, and Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. His work appears in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Public Library, The Walker Art Center, The Tate Gallery, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Museum Ludwig, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Musée national d’art moderne, Sammlung Falckenberg, and The Arts Council Collection in London.


Burgin graduated from the School of Painting at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1965, and then went on to study Philosophy and Fine Art at Yale University School of Art and Architecture, where his teachers included Robert Morris and Donald Judd. Burgin is Professor Emeritus of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Emeritus Millard Chair of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London. He was recently a Mellon Fellow and Visiting Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, where he produced Prairie for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. He lives and works in Gascony and Paris. 


For more information please contact Candace Moeller at or +1.212.594.0550.



Video Excerpts


Victor Burgin: UK76 at Bridget Donahue


Victor Burgin: Then and Now at Slought Foundation


The Limits of Representation William J. Simmons, Aperture
October 20, 2016
Victor Burgin Phillip Griffith, The Brooklyn Rail
October 4, 2016
Destructive Modernism: Two exhibitions of Victor Burgin Hearne Pardee, artcritical
October 1, 2016
Review: Victor Burgin Alex Kitnick, 4 Columns
September 30, 2016
25 Most Collectible Conceptual Artists: Victor Burgin Sara Roffino, Art + Auction
September 2016
9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week The Editors, ARTnews
September 6, 2016
Victor Burgin: 20 New York Gallery Exhibitions Everyone Should See This Fall Ben Davis, artnet News
August 25, 2016