After receiving a bird-watching telephoto lens from a friend, Arne Svenson set up a tripod to capture what unfolded within a brand new, glass-and-steel high-rise building across the street from his Tribeca studio. Capturing the lives of his neighbors (their habits, activities, tastes) over the course of a year, Svenson also used the geometry of the buildings’ windows as his frame, creating various tableaux of domestic life unfolding.
Presenting over 20 photographs from this series, The Neighbors, this exhibition explores in depth the central issues raised by these enigmatic works: voyeurism, the increasingly imperceptible boundaries between privacy and the public, and the ubiquity of the camera in our surveillance-obsessed world. Documentation of a court case brought against the artist (which he successfully appealed, twice) will enrich this discussion, as the works point up a tension between the luxury of looking out and the vulnerability of being looked upon.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whther you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Arne Svenson: The Neighbors, presents Svenson's carefully composed photographs which have been compared to scenes from Vermeer and Edward Hopper. The series has sparked controversy and debate since it was first exhibited in August 2013, at a moment of acute national anxiety over surveillance and privacy.