Matthew Placek

Opening: May 7, 2020
Exhibition dates: 
May 7 – June 18, 2020

Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York proudly presents multimedia artist Matthew Placek’s 4000k. A public installation of 29 video portraits, 4000k considers the limitations of relationships and places them on full display, challenging us to redefine what it means to be present amidst an international health crisis.

The pandemic has rendered New York a quiet, more vulnerable city, creating a poignant backdrop for this exhibition, open on the full moon of May 7th through June 18th. The 29 unique video portraits will play on a 24 hour loop behind the storefront window of the gallery to those who pass by. Filmed under the light of a full moon, the participants (Placek’s own family, friends, and lovers) were asked to disclose detailed secrets expressing one of their most intimate memories on camera. Tears, laughter, boredom, serenity, calm, anxiety, release, reflection, regret, indifference and love—no two deliveries are alike. While filming, Placek disables sound recording leaving no aural record of the subject’s confession. While exploring their shared environment, Placek records the ambient sounds of his solitary adventure. This soundscape accompanies the video portrait in lieu of a verbal confession. 

Because of site constraints the subjects of the videos are pictured six feet away behind glass, coincidentally echoing the mandate of social distancing. The moonlight illuminating these portraits captures an uneasy world where everyday intimacy is mediated through technology, large public interactions are off limits, and faces are covered. Despite all this, 4000K embodies the very human desire to connect through all obstacles.

Born in Ohio, Matthew Placek relocated to New York City in 1997 to pursue his interests in photography, video, and installation. His commitment to capturing presence, whether as a sense of place, the passage of time, or the relationships between people, has led to his multimedia output. Matthew Placek has collaborated with notable contemporary artists such as Marina Abramović, Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Vanessa Beecroft, Richard Prince, Brice Marden, Cindy Sherman, James Ivory, and Yoko Ono. His individual and collaborative work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Kitchen, Deitch Projects, Mary Boone Gallery, Galleria Lia Rumma, the Sundance Film Festival’s “New Frontier,” The Toronto International Film Festival, The Stockholm International Film Festival, The National Young Arts Foundation and the National Monument Fort Jay at Governors Island. Placek has been awarded grants from The National Young Arts Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He has been in residence at The Pocantico Center at the Rockefeller estate and Marfa, Texas.


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Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York operates as a 501(c)3 arts organization and is located at 126 Baxter St and 128 Baxter St. Its programming and exhibitions are supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Jerome Foundation, The Tierney Family Foundation, Steven Amedee Fine Custom Framing, Fujifilm of North America, The Puffin Foundation Ltd., and Yarden Winery. Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is W.A.G.E. certified.