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L to R: Artworks by Francesca Woodman. “A waltz in three parts - 3,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 5 7/16 x 5 7/16 in / “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 5 1/4 x 5 1/4 in / “A waltz in three parts,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in / “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 5 1/2 x 7 3/8 in / “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 5 1/2 x 6 1/2 in / “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 7 3/8 x 7 3/8 in.
Francesca Woodman. “A waltz in three parts - 3,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 5 7/16 x 5 7/16 in. Gelatin silver print.
The shroud, Francesca Woodman: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Francesca Woodman’s engagement with the figure was not only connected to re-interpretations of classical art, but also reflective of the art of her time. In the 1970s—when Woodman made much of her work as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design—artists from Hannah Wilke to Bruce Nauman were concerned with representations of the body and self, stemming from wide-ranging concerns about its relationship to cultural and physical space. Here Woodman uses the shroud - as plaster cast or embroidered sheet - in two series’ of images to alternately hide and reveal the figure’s form, in both sculptural and perfomative ways.

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Sabina Mirri on the work of Francesca Woodman: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

On the occasion of “Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories,” Marian Goodman Gallery commissioned eight video vignettes by an array of art historians, curators, and artists, each whom brought their own perspective to Woodman’s work and the exhibition currently on view. In this video, Sabina Mirri, Italian artist and close friend of Woodman, shares her memories and impressions of Woodman as a singular, compelling young woman and artist during her time in Rome.

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L to R: Artworks and contact sheet by Francesca Woodman. “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 in / Contact sheet, Providence, Rhode Island, c. 1975-78. 10 x 8 in / “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 7 3/8 x 9 1/2 in. All gelatin silver prints. © Woodman Family Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Francesca Woodman. “Untitled,” Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. Gelatin silver print.
Contact sheets, Francesca Woodman: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Francesca Woodman’s contact sheets are revealing about her process, demonstrating ways that ideas took shape as she explored and realized them while printing. Each contact sheet has at least a half a dozen frames trying to work out what the right composition should be for a particular photograph. Here she experiments with a variety of compositions and poses, concerned with juxtaposing various patterns, fabrics and the body.

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Glimpses of hands and feet, Francesca Woodman: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery New York

Francesca Woodman was well-acquainted with the traditions of Classical Western art and representations of the figure within it, which seeped into her own picture-making. While perhaps better-known for her photographs of the full female body—she specified that she used nudes “in an ironic sense like classical painting nudes"—Woodman returned again and again to highly composed glimpses of hands and feet.

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L to R: All artworks by Francesca Woodman. 1-6: Select pages and cover from "Some Disordered Interior Geometries,” 1981. From original artist book, 24 pages + cover / “Angels,” Rome, Italy, 1977-78. 3 3/4 x 3 3/4 in. Gelatin silver print / “Untitled,” Rome, Italy, 1977-78. 4 9/16 x 4 11/16 in.
Francesca Woodman. Pages from "Some Disordered Interior Geometries,” 1981. From original artist book, 24 pages + cover.
"Some Disordered Interior Geometries," Rome, Italy: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Francesca Woodman was a frequent visitor to the Maldoror bookshop during the year she spent studying in Rome. In the hours she spent rooting through the stacks there, she began to collect old notebooks filled with elaborate handwriting exercises and objective mathematical lessons, all in Italian.

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L to R: All artworks by Francesca Woodman. “Splatter Paint,” Rome, Italy, 1977-78. 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 in / “Untitled,” Italy, 1977-78. 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 in (Giuseppe Gallo with Francesca Woodman) / All gelatin silver prints / Giuseppe Gallo, Bruno Ceccobelli, Francesca Woodman, Angelo Segneri, and Gianni Dessi installing the exhibition “Cinque Giovani Artisti" at Galleria Ugo Ferranti, Rome, 1978, photo © Mimmo Capone / Ugo Ferranti Archive / 4-5: Invitation card for “Cinque Giovani Artisti" at Galleria Ugo Ferranti, Rome, 1978.
Francesca Woodman. “Splatter Paint,” Rome, Italy, 1977-78. 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 in.
Ugo Ferranti Gallery, Rome, Italy: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

"While I was in Rome my Junior year I began to work with the ideas that presently occupy me,” Francesca Woodman wrote in 1980. “I also met a number of Italian artists who shared similar concerns in other mediums. In June we had a show at the Ugo Ferranti Gallery, my first exhibition in a prestigious gallery. That year I also showed at the Libreria Maldoror, a book store and gallery specializing in Futurist and Dada Literature. The owners introduced me to many rare books and writers, ets.”

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"Ideas in Antella," Antella, Italy: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories," Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Francesca Woodman was deliberate about the photographs she made, frequently sketching in her journal and jotting down notes about her concepts and intentions. Here you can see the evolution of some specific “Ideas in Antella:” first as simple drawings, then translated from photographic negatives to a contact sheet, and finally as the pair of lush and mysterious gelatin silver prints now on view at Marian Goodman Gallery New York.

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L to R: All images by Francesca Woodman. “Untitled," Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 4 5/8 x 4 3/4 in. Gelatin silver print / “Untitled," Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. Gelatin silver print / “Untitled,” Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 5 3/16 x 5 3/16 in. Gelatin silver print / Images 4-7: “Untitled,” made at La Specola, Florence, Italy, c. 1971.
Francesca Woodman. “Untitled," Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 4 5/8 x 4 3/4 in. Gelatin silver print.
La Specola Museum, Florence, Italy: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories,” Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Over the course of Francesca Woodman's solo exhibition "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories" at Marian Goodman Gallery New York, we’ll be sharing additional images and materials from Woodman’s archive which shed light on her process and elaborate on specific works currently on view.

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Betty Woodman’s permanent installation Chinese Pleasure at the United States Embassy in Beijing, China, 2007-2008: From the Archives…

Betty Woodman’s Chinese Pleasure (2007-2008) was commissioned by the U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program for the United States Embassy in Beijing. Woodman was inspired by and freely borrowed from visual influences all over the world and throughout art history, here incorporating three distinct moments in the history of Chinese art, ranging from Sichuan bronzes to popular culture into this dramatic installation.

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