TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
Past Exhibitions

David Hartt: Negative Space / the Last Poet

February 28 – May 19, 2018

Read the essay by Meg Onli.

In David Hartt’s first solo exhibition in Philadelphia, Negative Space / the Last Poet will present a new photographic series and film whose genesis began with a series of photographs by Robert Rauschenberg, who in 1980 documented his journey from Long Island to Captiva, Florida. Hartt repeated this journey using a drone camera to capture the territory covered. The landscape shows the reversal of urban to suburban migration patterns, an extreme concentration and stratification of wealth and power, marginalization and displacement of industry, and the emergent precarity of environmental catastrophe.

Image credit:
Production still from the Last Poet, 2017
HD Video file – Duration 22:20
Score by Daniel Givens
Narration by Francis Fukuyama


David Hartt creates work that unpacks the social, cultural, and economic complexities of his various subjects. He explores how historic ideas and ideals persist or transform over time. Born in Montréal in 1967, he lives and works in Philadelphia. He has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa. His exhibition Stray Light originating with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. A catalog for Stray Light was published by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Recently David has had solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago, LA><ART, Los Angeles, and Or Gallery, Vancouver. His work has been included in recent group exhibitions including Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015 at The Museum of Modern Art, Now? Now!: 2015 Biennial of the Americas at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, America Is Hard to See at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Shine a light/Surgir de l’ombre: Canadian Biennial at the National Gallery of Canada, AIMA/AGO Photography Prize Exhibition at The Art Gallery of Ontario and Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Meg Onli is the Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent exhibition Speech/Acts explores experimental black poetry and how the social and cultural constructs of language have shaped black American experiences. Prior to joining Institute of Contemporary Art she was the Program Coordinator at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. While at the Graham Foundation she worked on the exhibitions Architecture of Independence: African Modernism and Barbara Kasten: Stages. In 2010 she created the website Black Visual Archive for which she was awarded a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. In 2014 she was the recipient of a research grant from the Graham Foundation for the collaborative project Remaking the Black Metropolis: Contemporary Art, Urbanity, and Blackness in America with curator Jamilee Polson Lacy. Onli holds a Master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her writing has appeared in Art21, Daily Serving, and Art Papers.

Exhibitions Calendar