David Haxton (b. 1943, Indianapolis Indiana) is an artist who works in various media, usually with some technology influencing the work. During his undergraduate studies (1961-65) he studied painting. Haxton’s focus was Abstract Expressionism, its origins and successors. His early painting works were primarially influenced by the artists from the period including Hans Hoffman and Robert Rauschenberg. While earning his MFA in Ann Arbor, Haxton was loosely connected to the Once group. In this environment he saw the possibilities that were available in performance and installation. While in Ann Arbor he participated in a benefit exhibition for Art and Technology that took place at Rauschenberg’s studio in NYC (1967).
The afore mentioned influences were solidified while he was teaching in San Diego. It was there that he made the film installation “Four Screen Films”. The piece is the reconstruction of one space within another realized through the use of film and performance. Several other film installations were made during that time, each with the purpose of reconstructing one space within another. “Four Screen Films” was presented in San Diego in 1971 and “Three Changes” was shown at Sonnabend Gallery in 1974.
While making the Film Installations he also began making single screen films. Reminded of his painting background, Haxton made the film “Bringing Lights Forward”. The film and others like it describe a space while always being aware of the illuminated screen. It draws in part on Hans Hoffman’s concept of push-pull.
In 1976 Haxton used some of his film set materials to make photographic diptychs. He wanted, as in the single screen films, to make photographic works that referred to themselves and their own fundamental nature. He saw photographic backdrop paper and light useful for the execution of this concept.
Haxton’s photographic works were first shown in a Solo exhibition at Sonnabend Paris, 1978. In the 1980’s the photographic works were shown at Sonnabend New York, The Whitney Biennial, and at various other venues in the US and Europe.
In February of 2018 Haxton presented an evening of films at the Pompidou Center in Paris. In May of 2018 the Pompidou Center opened Kanal Pompidou in Brussels. An exhibition within the museum titled “The Site of Film” included sixteen of Haxton’s films. His most recent Solo exhibition was at Gavlak Gallery in Los Angles, April 2015. In 2012 his film “Painting Room Lights” was included in an exhibition titled “Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 1978 the Whitney presented a two-person exhibition of photographs by Jan Groover and David Haxton. In 1978 he was featured in MoMA’s Cineprobe series. Selected collections include: Pompidou, Paris, SFMOMA, San Fransisco, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Albright Knox Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Canberra,Australia, MoMA, New York, Maslow Collection in Scranton, Pa., Denver Museum of Art, and the Chicago Art Institute.