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The Akron Art Museum Joins 65 Museums Around the World With Heresies: A Retrospective by Pedro Meyer
Pedro Meyer, The Temptation of the Angel, La Mixteca, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1991, digital pigment print of a digitally modified image scanned from 35mm color transparencies, 33 x 44 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of the artist and the Evelyne Shaffer Endowment for Exhibitions. © Pedro Meyer 2008/from Heresies: A Retrospective by Pedro Meyer.

AKRON, OH.- Mexican photographer Pedro Meyer is widely recognized for both his provocative and powerful images that have consistently questioned the boundaries of truth, fiction and reality, and for his pioneering work in digital imaging.

On December 6, the Akron Art Museum joins 65 museums in 18 countries in honoring the photographer’s long, distinguished career by simultaneously presenting Heresies: A Retrospective by Pedro Meyer. Considered “crossing the line” by many critics for his digitally-altered photographs, Meyer earned the title “heretic,” a name he has embraced and applied to this exhibition.

Meyer routinely uses the computer to move, add or subtract objects and figures or combine separate images, making manipulations both miniscule and grand, overlooked and completely obvious. Six of the images on view in the Akron exhibition have been digitally manipulated. Their labels display dates for the clicking of the camera shutter, completion of the digital manipulation and production of the print.

The eleven large-scale images on view at the Akron Art Museum were taken between 1980 and 2006, and explore the power of faith and its mysteries in Mexico, Brazil and New York City. Subjects range from carnival floats and church relics to a sidewalk Bible thumper and homemade shrines. “Religion is a complex topic for the artist,” explained Barbara Tannenbaum, director of Curatorial Affairs at the Akron Art Museum. “His German-Jewish parents fled the Nazis by moving to Spain, where Pedro was born. The family was repatriated to Germany, escaped en route to a concentration camp and eventually settled in Mexico City. Meyer has always felt like an outsider in Mexico, where daily life is permeated by evidence of Catholicism, indigenous religions and blends of the two.” Perhaps because of this, since the 1950s he has been photographing religious activity from banal tasks to spiritual transcendence.

In 1987, Meyer founded the Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía (Mexican Council of Photography). That same year, he was awarded the distinguished Guggenheim Fellowship. He has taught at various renowned institutes, and was the curator, editor, founder and director of the photography website ZoneZero. Meyer’s work is housed in numerous museums around the world including San Francisco, New York, London and Paris.

Other museums participating in Meyer’s international retrospective include: Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; California Museum of Photography, Riverside, California; National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Croatia; and the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. More information about the project can be found at the photographer’s website

The worldwide Heresies project is sponsored by Hewlett Packard, Centro de la Imagen, Centro Nacional de las Artes, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, Hahnemüle and the Pedro Meyer Foundation.

Locally, this exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by the museum’s Evelyne Shaffer Endowment for Exhibitions.

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