Wilmer Wilson IV - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “The aim has always been to lessen the demand of visibility on bodies specifically, and to make use of pedestrian objects from public and domestic spheres to create barriers, viewing devices and/or mediating layers that modulate an audience's relationship to the bodies imaged or implied beyond said layers.”
    —Wilmer Wilson IV

    Multi-disciplinary artist Wilmer Wilson IV has stated that a focus of his work is ‘the way that marginalized bodies are shaped in and by city space.’ Working with images appropriated from popular culture, Wilson’s photographic work offers a highly intellectualized, graphically dynamic, commentary on different aspects of the Black experience. In this piece, Wilson has covered the photograph in a meticulous whorled pattern of staples which pierce the image and are embedded in its wooden mount. This metallic screen selectively reveals details of the image while obscuring others.


    This is the first time a work by Wilmer Wilson IV has appeared at auction.

  • The remarkable group of photographs comprising Lots 161 through 200 in this auction come from the collection of Fred and Laura Bidwell, collectors, philanthropists, and founders of the Transformer Station, the renowned exhibition space for contemporary photography and art in the Hingetown neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The Bidwells’ collection presents a truly enlightened selection of work, ranging from classic practitioners such as Lee Friedlander and Stephen Shore to photographers working at the very cutting edge of today’s artistic practice, such as Kehinde Wiley, Zanele Muholi, and Hank Willis Thomas, among many others. Themes of identity and self-representation course through these works. An inquiry into the intrinsic nature of photography is another through-line, with artists as conceptually diverse as Alison Rossiter, Matthew Brandt, and Christopher Williams pushing the boundaries of the medium to deepen our understanding of it. Central to the collection is Hiroshi Sugimoto’s masterful Lightning Fields 128 (lot 169), which is emblematic of the creative spark underlying Bidwells’ progressive conception of photography.


    Driven by a passion for photography and a desire to make their collection accessible to the public, the Bidwells renovated a former Cleveland Railway Company transformer substation into a state-of-the-art exhibition venue. Boasting 3,500 square feet of exhibition space, the Transformer Station became a vital part of the city’s artistic community, hosting exhibitions drawn from the Bidwells’ collection, exhibitions curated by the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as performances and talks. Earlier this year, the Bidwells gifted Transformer Station to the Cleveland Museum of Art which will continue to use this unique space. 


    Proceeds from the sale of these works will support the Bidwells’ active philanthropic endeavors. 



    Read More about High Voltage→ 

    • Provenance

      CONNERSMITH, Washington D.C., 2017

    • Exhibited

      One: Unique Photo-Based Images, Transformer Station, Cleveland, 18 September - 31 January 2021

High Voltage: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection of Fred and Laura Bidwell


Rate Who Rate You

Unique pigment print and mixed media on wood.
53 x 43 1/2 in. (134.6 x 110.5 cm)

Full Cataloguing

$7,000 - 9,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023