News and Events

Press Releases

Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College to Show Found Images by Oliver Wasow and Pete Mauney

CONTACT: Deborah Renfrew (518) 629-7180,
Tara Fracalossi, (518) 629-8006,
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, January 22, 2014

The Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College announces Artist Unknown – Oliver Wasow with Pete Mauney, an exhibition of photographs found and presented by Rhinebeck photographer Oliver Wasow on view February 12 through March 21, 2015.

Wasow discusses the exhibition and his work on Thursday, Feb. 12 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium, followed by a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Teaching Gallery. Both events are free and open to the public.

In his 1955 prologue to the Family of Man, - the exhibition of 505 photographs from around the world curated by Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art - Carl Sandburg writes, “You travel and see what the camera saw. The wonder of human mind, heart, wit and instinct is here. You might catch yourself saying, ‘I’m not a stranger here.’ ”

Oliver Wasow.
Artist Unknown.

Oliver Wasow’s project, Artist Unknown is, in many ways, an updated, expanded and more democratic version of Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition. Analogue images, now in digital form, have been culled from the Internet and, like Family of Man, organized into groups of similar subject matter. Wasow, an internationally known photographer, here plays the curator: he selects and organizes these images in a manner that underscores their universality. In their profound sense of shared human experiences they are simultaneously vintage yet timeless, common yet rare and anonymous yet familiar.

Of the project, Wasow writes, “The hundreds of images that make up Artist Unknown were all found on the Internet and were all taken in the twentieth century. At some point these pictures were separated from their original owners and reclaimed by others, who in turn chose to upload them to the Web. As they stand now, they occupy an undefined and immaterial space somewhere between the analog and digital worlds: they’ve been rescued from physical deterioration and at the same time opened up to the potential for endless manipulation and digital redistribution. These are pictures in motion.

Artist Unknown
, Installation view.

“The few hundred pictures presented here were culled from over a hundred thousand images, uploaded by thousands of individuals …. The people sharing these pictures participate in a kind of crowdsourced curatorial practice, posting pictures to Flickr, Tumblr,  etc., and create an archive of analog images larger than anything a single individual or institution could ever hope to amass… I’m indebted to them for their unsolicited collaboration.”

In addition to his own found images, Wasow has invited photographer Pete Mauney to contribute prints from his ever-expanding collection of found negatives for the Artist Unknown installation. These images, like Wasow’s, catalogue our experience in the twentieth-century. However, because they originate from analog negatives as opposed to downloaded Internet files, the quality of Mauney’s physical prints (grain, tonal range, etc.) is more refined, resulting in images that somehow feel slower, less passed around by social media.

Pete Mauney.
Artist Unknown.

Oliver Wasow has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums for the last 30 years. Included are exhibitions at Josh Baer Gallery, White Columns, Postmasters and Matthew Marks Gallery, in New York City; Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany; New Museum, NY; Museum of Moderner Kunst, Vienna, Austria; Center for Photography, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. His works are held in many private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Smith College Museum of Art, Northhampton, MA and The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.

Pete Mauney is a photographer living in Tivoli. He holds both a BFA and MFA in photography from Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, and has exhibited his work at the Islip Art Museum, Islip; The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz; and Jen Bekman Gallery, New York City, among others.

Gallery Hours:
The Teaching Gallery is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Wednesday 1-7 p.m.; Saturday 12 – 4 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. For directions and more information, go to

Teaching Gallery exhibitions are supported by the Department of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Broadcast Communications with assistance from the Office of Cultural Affairs. All exhibitions are installed and assisted by students in Gallery Management classes. The Teaching Gallery is located on the ground floor of the award-winning Administration Building.