Doug Hall

Born: 1944

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Website:

Education: MFA, Sculpture, Rinehart School of Sculpture, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, 1969
BA, Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1966

Doug Hall Bio

About The Artist

San Francisco-based media artist Doug Hall came to prominence in the early 1970s as a founding member (with Diane Andrews Hall and Jody Procter) of the seminal media art collective, T. R. Uthco. The group did numerous performances, interventions, and installations during the 1970s, but is best known for The Eternal Frame (1976), a reenactment of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, done in collaboration with Ant Farm, another Bay Area collective. Following the end of T. R. Uthco in 1978, Hall worked independently, producing a significant body of work, particularly in video and video installation. In 1989, while working on the media installation People in Buildings, he began using large-format photography to document some of the institutional spaces that he videotaped for the installation. This body of work, titled Non-Spaces, was first shown in 1990. Since then, photography has been a central part of Hall's art practice.

Over the past three decades, Hall's photography has covered a wide range of subject matter, from his stark earlier works that concentrate on governmental and bureaucratic spaces; to the lush photographs of Italian concert halls, archives, and museums that reflect his interest in the emergence of bourgeois culture; to images of people in proximity to natural and man-made monuments; to the portraits from 2009—11 that reveal people in the landscape and within dense urban settings; and most recently to Letters About Love, the work he has been shooting in Prague, based on the love letters exchanged between Franz Kafka and Milena Jesenská, which combines photography and video.

Because he uses a large-format camera and the images are sizable in scale, Hall's photographs reveal the world in exquisite detail. It is the kind of detail that brings the physical world to a standstill and shows things beyond the capability of the unaided human eye. In public talks and essays, he has referred to this as the "allegorical capacity" of photographs. Hall's photographs are often deceiving in that they appear to be depicting a single moment in time when, in fact, many of them—this is particularly true of the scenic photographs that include people—are constructed from numerous negatives shot over several minutes or even hours. A central theme in Hall's work—in both the photographs and the time-based works—is the idea that meaning is constructed and that interpreting the images we look at and the spaces we inhabit is central to this process.

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