This exhibition—the artist’s first in a major museum—presents an overview of artist and writer Moyra Davey’s 20-year career summarized in 40 photographs. Her modest images—newspapers, books, money, empty bottles, and the accumulation of objects on the tops of refrigerators—prick us into a state of increased awareness about the everyday life that both surrounds us and that we are immersed in. Her work stands as a quiet, passionate rejoinder to the hyper-staged quality of much contemporary photography, which Davey sees as bound up with the intense commercialization of the art world.
In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Davey has written an essay entitled “Notes on Photography and Accident,” a rumination on the themes of death, suicide, and time that run through the writings on photography of Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Janet Malcolm, and Susan Sontag. Davey’s video Fifty Minutes is on view in the exhibition Two or Three Things I Know About Her, also curated by Helen Molesworth, at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, February 28–April 6, 2008. Organized by Helen Molesworth, Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art, Fogg Museum.