As summer comes to a close, and we push through our annual August slow down, it’s no doubt our visitors are wondering what’s been going on at the DIA. Through African Eyes closed earlier in the month. The exhibition was carefully packed up and is now en route to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. A few select photographs from the DIA’s collection by West African photographer Sedyou Keita and South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa will travel with other exquisite and very unique African treasures from museums around the world.
- DIA special exhibition galleries in transition, August 2010
In the meantime, our special exhibitions galleries are presently in overhaul mode as we prepare for the November 21, 2010, opening of Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries which will feature about 50 re-evaluated permanent collection works of all media and from many cultures. The exhibition explores the methods used by museums to examine and authenticate works of art. One photograph will be on view – a dubious Man Ray rayogram (also known as a photogram) that experts believe is a copy, but you’ll have to come to the exhibition to learn more about this.
André Kertész circa 1980, by Bill Rauhauser, © Bill Rauhauser 2010
With the Robert Frank photo exhibition closing in July, and our main photo gallery down for most of the year, behind the scenes preparations are ongoing for an upcoming season of new programs and more exhibitions in development. The Albert and Peggy de Salle Gallery is now under wraps for a fresh paint job and cleaning but will open again to the public on November 24, 2010, with An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs 1914-1969. Largely a permanent collection exhibition, we were fortunate to find the artist’s lesser known, but critical early Hungarian photographs which will be on loan from University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor. From the DIA’s collection, we’ve included Kertész’s iconic work from Paris in the 1920s and 1930s in addition to late work he made throughout New York City after 1940. The exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work at the DIA and coincides with the 25th anniversary of his death in 1985.
Philip Gefter scheduled to lecture at the DIA Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
Our stellar department support group – The Forum for Prints, Drawings and Photographs – will host a series of artist’s lectures this fall as well as an encore presentation by Philip Gefter on the work of André Kertész. Gefter traveled to Detroit and the DIA this past June for a talk on Robert Frank, and we so enjoyed it, we asked him back again! Join us for his lecture and a special preview of An Intuitive Eye at 7pm on Friday, November 19, 2010. The exhibition will open officially to the public on Sunday, November 24, 2010, and is free with museum admission.
Hall of Thirty-Three Bays, 1995, by Hiroshi Sugimoto, © Hiroshi Sugimoto
On the publications front, DIA editor Judith Ruskin and I have finalized texts for an upcoming issue of the DIA’s Bulletin – the first dedicated solely to the medium of photography (the DIA’s Bulletin has been in publication since 1919). Ongoing research and interest in our growing collection by several colleagues across the nation led to the development of this journal. The issue will feature essays on permanent collection works including Victorian era photography as seen in the cyanotypes of Anna Atkins and examine the pre World War II era of pictorialism in the work of Paul Anderson. Also highlighted are contemporary photographs including work by Lewis Baltz, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Greg Crewdson and the young women of the so-called Yale School who rose to fame in the late 1990s. MFA, Boston, colleague Karen Haas was even kind enough to take time away from her research as curator of The Lane Collection to pen a very interesting article on a series of 1955 photographs made by Robert Frank for an essay on train travel for Fortune magazine. The Bulletin is due out sometime in September 2010 and will be available in our museum shop.
One highlight from the summer was an email from writer and film producer Mary Dejarlais asking if I would take part in the upcoming documentary film based on the life and photographic work of Detroit native Bill Rauhauser, who recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. As a former photo student of Bill’s at the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, back in the 1980s, it was an absolute pleasure to share what I remembered about him as a mentor and creative spirit. And so few people know about his efforts to establish the DIA’s photography collection early in the 1960s. Bill still supports the DIA and attends events and exhibitions. News about the film’s première and accompanying biography will get posted here as soon as I get word from the producers, but we may see it screen locally in September 2010. Desjarlais is also the author of a biography about Bill to be published this fall.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Andre Kertesz, artist's lectures, Bill Rauhauser, cyanotypes, DIA, DIA Bulletin, Exhibitions, Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries, Fortune magazine, Greg Crewdson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Karen Haas, Lewis Baltz, Man Ray rayogram, Mary Dejarlais, Paper conservator, Philip Gefter, Photography, research scientist, Robert Frank, Seydou Keita, The Congressional, Through African Eyes, Victorian photography, Zwelethu Mthethwa
Untitled (six boys and boy with bicycle in background, neg#22), around 1910, by Wendell Hotter (1889-1955), Gift of Brad and Ellen Iverson
As summer comes to a close, I thought to share with readers a number of recent acquisitions that are notable because of their interesting ties to Detroit. The first, comes out of the tradition of vernacular photography. Back in June, Brad and Ellen Iverson gifted a number of prints to the museum that Brad had made from old negatives dating to the early 20th century. Vernacular photography is a growing area for collectors, and several museums including the National Gallery of Art have organized exhibitions around some of the work that falls into this category. You’ve probably seen these pictures in those old remnants from the pre-digital era – the forgotten family photo album. Or maybe you’ve stumbled across boxes of pictures in local flea markets or even garage sales. If you take the time to forage through them, these photos will stop you for a second or even longer – maybe its a curious composition, an unusual pose, or something else unique or peculiar that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Untitled (Herbert Hotter and Girlfriends, Detroit, Michigan), about 1910. Gift of Brad and Ellen Iverson
Over the years, Brad researched the work and discovered Detroiter Wendell Hotter was responsible for taking the photographs seen here. Hotter dabbled in photography over the years making portraits of friends and family, as well as businesses and a few local landmarks around the city. The photographs date from around 1910 to 1930 and are evidence of some faraway personal slice of history and the people and places that existed over a century ago.
Another recent gift that relates to our local cultural history, more so from the underground and certainly eclectic, was created by the collaborative team The Upholsterers (Brian Muldoon and Jack White), who, in addition to their forays into upholstering and fine art editions, have pretty well-known reputations around town and elsewhere as musicians (Brian is a drummer with The Muldoons; Jack plays with The White Stripes and more recently has been on tour with a new muscial project The Dead Weather).
The Upholsterers Makers of High Grade Suites, 2000. Gift of Michelle Andonian
Made around 2000, Brian and Jack put together about 500 official editions that include multiple pieces: business cards, a fabric sample along with a three-panel story board of Brian and Jack refurbishing a vintage chair. But the whole piece really fronts as an elaborate jacket for an old-school 45rpm vinyl disk with rare recordings by the duo. Incidentally, photographs on the cover and the inside story board were taken by Steve Shaw an old college photo buddy of mine who also happens to be a fellow DIA staffer and guitarist for The Fondas.
Past summers have seen other Detroit-related material finding its way into the collection. Last year, local photo guru Bill Rauhauser presented the museum with a large and coveted gift of his most memorable work. The photographs document the city from 1950 through the 1980s. And in 2006 collector James Duffy, well known for his support of many Detroit artists, bestowed over 400 black-and-white photographs to the DIA. Duffy took the pictures around 1976 to document old storefronts and businesses mostly on Detroit’s eastside. It’s likely you will see these treasures in upcoming exhibitions at the DIA and in future posts.
Posted in New Acquisitions
Tagged 45rpm, acquisitions, Bill Rauhauser, Brad Iverson, Brian Muldoon, Detroit, Jack White, James Duffy, Michelle Andonian, Photography, Steve Shaw, The Dead Weather, The Fondas, The Muldoons, The Upholsterers, The White Stripes, vernacular photography, Wendell Hotter
In the Company of Artists opened at the DIA yesterday and the de Salle gallery saw a veritable a-list of Detroit-area photo legends taking in the exhibition. Bill Rauhauser was one of the first into the gallery where a number of his own portraits of artists are on view including a very dapper self portrait by Bill from the 1950s.
Bill Rauhauser, Self Portrait, ca. 1950s (printed in 2008); gelatin silver print. Gift of Bill Rauhauser in memory of Doris Rauhauser. © Bill Rauhauser.
Oakland Community College photo guru Rob Kangas was on hand to see the exhibition along with Michelle Andonian and legendary architectural photographer Balthazar Korab. Our general public seemed to enjoy the exhibition as well – the first permanent collection exhibition to grace the galleries in nearly seven years!