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Gallery Text

Gary Schneider creates luminescent photographs that demonstrate the enigmatic nature of identity by transforming and subverting the genre of portraiture. Building on his earlier involvement in performance art and filmmaking, Schneider began in the mid-1990s to create mural-size installations to inject cinematic scale into his portraits. John in Sixteen Parts is the collective afterimage of sixteen performances that Schneider enacted with his longtime partner John Erdman over several months. By using a large-format camera and navigating around his subject in the dark, Schneider selectively reveals aspects of Erdman’s visage with a directed light. The individual panels present an inventory of features as a litany of the senses. Yet the components of the face are disembodied, transformed, and multiplied, as if they were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle

gone awry. Rather than conveying verisimilitude, Schneider displays segments of Erdman’s physiognomy as traces of his psychology shifting over time.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Gary Schneider, American (East London, South Africa born 1954)
John in Sixteen Parts (Part #14, Bottom Row #7)
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States, New York State, New York City
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Platinum print
sheet: 50.2 x 40.6 cm (19 3/4 x 16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: recto, lower left, graphite, in artist's hand: BOTTOM ROW #7
  • inscription: recto, lower center, graphite, in artist's hand: JOHN IN SIXTEEN PARTS 1996 2/7 PART #14
  • inscription: recto, lower right, graphite, in artist's hand: GARY SCHNEIDER


Recorded Ownership History
Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, from the artist, sold to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2000.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Fund for the Acquisition of Photographs
© Gary Schneider
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 04/23/2015

Related Works

Verification Level

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