Erica Baum

“What interests me are the juxtapositions and sense of history derived from the words themselves even without knowing everything. I want to give you a sense of a particular environment but not in its entirety. The view is oblique and re-contextualized.” Erica Baum, 2020

  • L´École, 2023, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, / Photo: Neighboring States

  • L´École, 2023, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, / Photo: Neighboring States

  • The Bite in the Ribbon, 2022, Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris /Photo: Martin Argyroglo

  • A METHOD OF A CLOAK, 2020, Klemm’s, Berlin

  • A METHOD OF A CLOAK, 2020, Klemm’s, Berlin

  • The Following Information, 2016, Bureau, New York

  • Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, 2015, The Guggenheim Museum, New-York / Photo: David Heald

  • The Imminence of Poetics, 2012, 30th Sao-Paulo Biennial, Sao-Paulo

  • The Public Imagination, 2011, Circuit, Lausanne

About the artist

Fascinated by the printed word, concrete poetry, and the beauty of language permeating our daily lives, the American artist Erica Baum could be best described as a ‘poet-photographer’.

With her reflected, nonchalant use of strategies akin to the work of the Pictures Generation, conceptual art, and minimalism, Erica Baum has developed a unique and truly authentic visual language. For two decades now, her enigmatic close-ups of books, newspapers and other printed matter have been investigating the nature, traditions, and essences of the photographic, steadily ‘re-materializing’ its visual, haptic, and thematic qualities.

Erica Baum’s works are ‘photographic’ in a very specific fashion: alongside the fleeting and ephemeral quality of the constant flow of images on display, she places an object-like presence and a precise interest in the material context of photography. By developing her series of pictures in direct close-ups, focused on surprising details with a shallow depth of field, she evokes a poetic power: indexically precise and at the same time abstract and trans-temporal like a collage, fragmentary and yet possessing a narrative power; seemingly everyday, trivial, and at the same time charged.

Baum’s pictures are emotional in a special sense – they have a soul and demand the most careful attention. They question and confirm in very fundamental ways: text, image, writing – their message, significance, and use — an understanding of the essence of our culture.

“Though embracing elements of chance, her images are the result of intensive investigation. She hunts out materials from disparate places – estate sales, thrift stores, the streets of New York City – then sets to work with an almost archeological rigor, exploring just what they may have to say to us today.” Katie White, 2021

Publications

  • Fabrications

    Art book limited edition of 40 copies signed and numbered, 120 pages printed on Fedrigoni Old Mill 150g paper, 36×27 cm, slipcase made of cardboard and fabric, printed label, hand sewn and assembled at Three Stars Books workshop, Three Star Books, Paris, 2023
  • Dog Ear

    First edition paperback of Dog Ear series images with essays by Kenneth Goldsmith and Béatrice Gross, color printed, engl., Ugly Duckling Presse NFS, New York, 2011
  • Sightings

    Images and texts by Erica Baum, first edition of 250 numbered copies, engl., 150 pages black and white printed, paperback color print cover, 140 x 225 mm, printed and bound in France, One Star Press, Paris, 2011
  • The Naked Eye

    Essays by Cathleen Chaffee
and Jean-Max Colard, engl.,
144 pages, 58 color plates, hard-cover, edition of 1200, graphic design by Myriam Barchechat, printing by NPN Drukkers, Breda, Netherlands, October 2015, Published by Crèvecœur/œ Paris & Bureau New York, 2015
  • Dog Ear

    Second edition hard-cover of Dog Ear series images (first published in paperback in 2011) with essays by Kenneth Goldsmith and Béatrice Gross., color printed, engl., this reissued hardcover edition comes with a wraparound poster cover, Ugly Duckling Presse NFS, New York, 2016