California Museum of Photography
February 9 - May 12, 2019
Mirror Mirror features a building taking a picture of itself. On Sunday, June 7, 1987, photographer Darryl Curran set about to transform the closed Kress department store in downtown Riverside into a walk-in camera obscura. The structure was shuttered, with plans underway to remake it into the California Museum of Photography. The artist blacked out the front display windows to create a camera. He fashioned multiple pinhole apertures and jury-rigged a darkroom in a basement storeroom. Finally, Curran commandeered a pair of abandoned dressing room mirrors. He deployed them on the mall to reflect the building front. One the next month of June 1987, he made scores of photographs. The pictures, Curran states, are “a result of the building taking a picture of itself.” They are self-reflexive. They are building selfies.
Curran was operating at the invitation of museum director Charles Desmarais. In that spirit, Mirror Mirror invited four contemporary Southern California artists to respond to Curran’s work. Following Curran’s lead (and in several instances employing his images), Karchi Perlmann, Andrew K. Thompson, Jonas Yip, and Jody Zellen used the museum - its archive, history, online manifestations, and camera collection- to produce additional, inventive institutional self-portraits.
Image: Darryl Curran, “Untitled,” from the “Kress Building Project,” 1987, courtesy of the artist.
Curator: Douglas McCulloh