b&w photography in Antibes

Monday, April 14, 2008

Groundbreaking Modern Photography on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art

Groundbreaking Modern Photography on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art

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Edward Weston, Nude, 1934, gelatin silver print.

BALTIMORE.-The Baltimore Museum of Art opened the exhibit Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900–1960 through June 8. Discover more than 150 striking vintage prints in this extraordinary exhibition showcasing groundbreaking modern photography. Peruse some of the world’s best-known 20th century photographers including iconic images by European and American artists such as Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks. Drawn from the BMA’s outstanding collection, these rarely shown photographs were produced during a pivotal period in the history of the medium—when photography became fully recognized as an art form.

Organized thematically, Looking through the Lens both showcases the work of great artists and illuminates some of the most significant movements and techniques of the first half of the century. Highlights of the exhibition include soft-focus Pictorialist-style photogravures published in Alfred Stieglitz’s ground-breaking journal Camera Work (1903–17), a rare print of Paul Strand’s Bottle, Book and Orange (1916); and brilliant experimental images produced between the wars such as Max Burchartz’s Lotte’s Eye (c. 1928) and Edward Weston’s Pepper (1929). A large selection of works by Man Ray demonstrates the influence of Surrealism, while Edward Steichen’s dramatic images of movie stars and Paul Outerbridge’s vivid carbro color prints of cropped nudes and festive still lifes show the cross-fertilization between art, film, and advertising.

Compelling documentary photographs and examples of photojournalism from the late 1930s include Dorothea Lange’s images of migrant farmers in California and Aaron Siskind’s Photo League chronicles of Harlem, as well as works commissioned for Life magazine by Margaret Bourke-White and Gordon Parks. Post-war images by New York School photographers Robert Frank and William Klein capture fleeting moments in America—from parade-goers in Hoboken, New Jersey, to a group of teenagers on the run. The exhibition concludes with Harry Callahan and other teachers at the progressive Institute of Design in Chicago whose work extended the influence of European modernism and anticipated some of the new directions photography would take in the second half of the century.

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