In 1948, at age twenty-three, Arnold Odermatt (b. 1925, Swiss) joined the police force in the Swiss canton of Nidwalden. He served as a traffic policeman until his retirement in 1990, taking it upon himself to photograph traffic accidents to supplement the normal drawn documentation of the scene. Over the years, Odermatt recorded hundreds of wrecked cars, always taking one set of photographs for the official record, and another, more carefully composed set, for himself. Still little known, Odermatt’s eerie photographs combine formal precision with violent imagery, creating scenes of discomfiting beauty.
Expanding on Odermatt’s film-noir-like photograph, RIOT brings together artworks that emanate intrigue, violence, tragedy, and mystery. In these works, everyday images become twisted and surreal, the ordinary strange and sinister. Taken together, the works evoke a mise-en-scène replete with characters, evidence, disguises, and disturbances.
The Ann and Mel Schaffer Family Collection is the result of over forty years of collecting by Skidmore alumna Ann Schapps Schaffer ’62 with her husband Mel Schaffer. Their extensive collection reflects a passion for contemporary art with a focus on narrative-driven works that explore issues of identity. The collection includes work in all media and when viewed together, makes a strong case for the vibrancy and urgency of late twentieth-century art.
The exhibition includes work by Laylah Ali, John Baldessari, John Chamberlain, Carroll Dunham, Brendan Fowler, Robert Gober, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Leslie Hewitt, Robert Lazzarini, Robert Longo, Marilyn Minter, Vik Muniz, Arnold Odermatt, Lisa Oppenheim, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Cindy Sherman, Kelley Walker, Nari Ward, Terry Winters.