On Repeat: Serial Photography

Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, founded 1959 [partnership]; 1931–2007 [Bernd]; 1934–2015 [Hilla]), Water Towers (Cylindrical), 1978.
Nine gelatin silver prints overall: 56 × 40 in. Gift of Herbert H. Kohl Charities, Inc., M1984.117. Copy photo by: Larry Sanders. Courtesy Sonnabend Gallery. © Estate Bernd & Hilla Becher, represented by Max Becher


  • September 2, 2022–January 1, 2023

  • Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts

  • Free for Members

  • Included with admission

Photography lends itself to series: both film and digital cameras make it easy to create images or capture a scene in quick succession or over time, and the images can be readily reproduced. On Repeat: Serial Photography draws on the Museum’s collection of 20th- and 21st-century photography to examine the ways artists have used serial and sequential imagery.

Some multiple images are typologies of often overlooked common structures and places, such as Bernd and Hilla Bechers’ Water Towers (Cylindrical) (1978), which draws attention to differentiating details. Others, such as Rineke Dijkstra’s Almerisa (1994–2008), are serial portraits used to consider how identities are created, represented, and recognized. Repeated experiments with the materials and technology of photography suggest the medium itself as a subject, as do variations on themes from art history. John Houck’s First Set (2015) pairs different media, prompting viewers to consider the frequently competitive relationship between painting and photography.

The artists represented in this exhibition offer new connections, reflections on the past and present, and a deeper understanding of photography by putting their subjects and processes “on repeat.”

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Supporting Sponsors

  • Greystone Foundation

Exhibitions in the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts sponsored by

  • Herzfeld Foundation

The Milwaukee Art Museum extends its sincere thanks to the 2022 Visionaries:

  • Donna and Donald Baumgartner

  • Murph Burke

  • Joel and Caran Quadracci

  • Sue and Bud Selig

  • Jeff and Gail Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation