Tag Archives: Photography exhibitions

Kertész Exhibition Extended through May 29, 2011

Satiric Dancer, 1926, by André Kertész, (c)Estate of André Kertész, Higher Pictures

Due to popular demand, the DIA has extended An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs 1914-1969 through May 29, 2011. If you haven’t  seen it, the exhibition presents a survey of the photographer’s work from Hungary, Paris and New York City. It includes several new acquisitions, among them one of Kertész’s most iconic images entitled  Satiric Dancer from 1926. Throughout his years in Paris from 1925 to 1937, Kertész’s closest friends and subjects were fellow Hungarians such as dancer Magda Förstner who strikes a modern pose in the studio of another fellow Hungarian – the painter and sculptor István Beöthy.

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Picture of the week – Chez Mondrian by André Kertész

Chez Mondrian (At Mondrian's), 1926, by André Kertész, © Estate of André Kertész/Higher Pictures

For a good part of the summer, DIA Mellon Fellow Hope Saska has been immersed in the work of Hungarian photographer André Kertész for preparation of an upcoming exhibition from our permanent collection. In this picture of the week – we feature one of the artist’s iconic images which he made shortly after his arrival in Paris and while on a visit to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian’s home. Kertész later mused,” I went to his studio and instinctively tried to capture in my photographs the spirit of his paintings. He simplified, simplified, simplified the studio with its symmetry dictated composition.”

This image is one of about seventy photographs that will be on view in An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs 1914-1969 opening Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at the DIA.

A Few Last Details Before DIA Photo Exhibition Opens

 After checking in on the installation for Photography – The First 100 Years today, our museum technicians have just a few more tiny details to tweak before the show opens tomorrow. All photographs are hung and the signage and labels are just about installed. Lighting is getting checked and rechecked, since several of the photographs are over 100 years old and require very low light levels.  On the average a photograph should only get about three to six months of exposure to light and then “rest” in darkened storage for three to five years before going back on view in the galleries. This would explain why your favorite photographs aren’t always up on the walls.

The DIA rotates exhibitions of photographs and other works on paper to preserve them from light which can fade photographic prints and cause paper to decay over time. DIA paper conservator Chris Foster will be keeping a close eye on our more fragile older objects over the course of this exhibition to make sure the there are no changes in their appearance.

Anna Atkins, Photographs of British Algae, Cyanotype Impressions, 1843-44

Anna Atkins, Photographs of British Algae, Cyanotype Impressions, 1843-44

The oldest  photographic object in the DIA’s collection and in the exhibition is a book of cyanotypes by Anna Atkins. Cyanotypes can fade quickly if exposed to high or constant light levels. Over the course of the exhibition, the book will be opened to several different pages to further limit light exposure and give our audience a sense of the range of patterns and imagery found in this very rare piece – thought to be the first photographically-illustrated book by one of the earliest female photographers in history. Visitors can experience the process of cyanotype firsthand in our new education studio. The workshops are free for children and adults – for more information check out the DIA’s education studio blog.

The First 100 Years of Photography – Exhibition to Open Sept. 2@the DIA

Julia Margaret Cameron, Enid from Idylls of the King, 1874

Julia Margaret Cameron, Enid from Idylls of the King, 1874

On September 2 the DIA opens a new exhibition, Photography – The First 100 Years: A Survey from the DIA’s Collection. Taking a look at the early years of photography and its development as a new art form, the DIA presents a survey of 90 works from its collection. Included are a number of notable rare works from the 19th century as well as iconic imagery from the 1920s and 1930s. Photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke White, Dorothea Lange in addition to 50 other pioneers and great innovators of the medium are on view in the exhibition which runs through January 3, 2010.

Unknown Photographer, Soldier and Companion, 1861-65, tintype.

Unknown Photographer, Soldier and Companion, 1861-65, tintype.

One of the highlights from this exhibition is a tintype portrait of an African American couple from the 1860s. The process, a photographic image made on metal, appeared in the 1850s.  The DIA was fortunate enough to acquire it back in 2001, when it went on the auction block with other items from the collection of Jackie Napoleon Wilson, a Detroiter who developed an important and rare collection of 19th-century portraits of African Americans over the years. The exhibition moves onward from the 19th century with sections devoted to the pictorialist, modernist and social documentary eras. Photography – The First 100 Years kicks off a new and exciting season of photography exhibitions this fall 2009 and into spring 2010 at the DIA – here’s the round-up:

Avedon Fashion Photographs 1944-2000– opening October 18, 2009 through January 17, 2010. The DIA will host the first large-scale fashion retrospective since Richard Avedon’s death in 2004. Organized by the International Center for Photography, New York, the exhibition includes 181 images – many are well-known photographs – in addition to magazines and other interesting ephemera that illustrates the long and legendary career of one of America’s most successful and interesting photographers.

Detroit Experiences: Robert Frank Photographs 1955 opening March 3 through July 4, 2010. This exhibition includes over 60 black-and white photographs taken by Robert Frank in Detroit. Made during his travels through the U.S. photographing for his book The Americans, Frank observed Detroiters as they lived and worked at mid century in the U.S. In this rare body of work, many of which will be on view for the first time at the DIA, Frank documented the day-to-day lives of Americans as he tried to mingle with assembly line workers at the Rouge Factory, took in a movie at the Gratiot Drive-In, and experienced public life on Belle Isle and in the streets of Detroit. All were part of the Detroit experience as Frank perceived it over fifty years ago.

Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky

Nat Gutman's Wife, Warsaw, 1938, by Roman Vishniac, © Mara Vishniac Kohn courtesy the International Center of Photography

Nat Gutman's Wife, Warsaw, 1938, by Roman Vishniac, © Mara Vishniac Kohn courtesy the International Center of Photography

Late last week, DIA staff finished the installation for the exhibition Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky which opened this past Sunday, April 19.  Sometimes for me, looking at photographs can be like stepping back into the past – or stepping into a time machine – I witness people who may no longer exist as well as the places where they once lived. This was exactly the experience I had when crates arrived at the DIA several weeks ago filled with 90 photographs from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. I saw first hand the work of Roman Vishniac, who photographed Jewish communities in Poland in the 1930s along with the work Jeff Gusky, who photographed remnants of those communities in the late 1990s. The images are powerful transmitters of traditions and history.

Before World War II, over 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland – their traditions, religion, and customs evolved and were preserved in the country for nearly five centuries. By the end of the 20th century, these communities had nearly vanished with their population diminishing to about 20,000 in recent years. Creating a very large visual record of this life, Roman Vishniac photographed the ghettos in Warsaw and Kazimierz as well in other cities in the 1930s. Gusky, although initially unaware of Vishniac’s extensive work in Poland, returned several decades later in the 1990s to capture the former ghettos, abandoned synagogues, and desecrated cemeteries, many which have been subject to neglect or vandalism. Although taken sixty years apart, their images share themes of memory, life, and loss. The photographs are evidence of people and places that once were, and what remains in their absence.

Corridor in Kazimierz, Former Jewish District, Cracow, 1996, by Jeffrey Gusky, © Jeffrey Gusky

Corridor in Kazimierz, Former Jewish District, Cracow, 1996, by Jeffrey Gusky, © Jeffrey Gusky

Photographs like those in Of Life and Loss preserve historical moments, memories and life experiences for future generations. This is largely due to the dedication of individual photographers who capture in-depth ordinary moments or nondescript places. In a photograph these encounters are transformed by personal perceptions, and we acquire the ability to see and experience life through the eyes of a photographer. We grasp some aspect of the world that had somehow escaped our attention.

To further enhance our audience’s experience at the DIA, there are listening stations in the gallery, where visitors can hear personal stories by individuals who have survived the Holocaust in Poland. The audio is courtesy of the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In addition, just outside the gallery is a monitor and brochures where visitors can view photographic work made in response to this exhibition by local high school students.

Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky is on view through July 12 in the Albert and Peggy de Salle Gallery of Photography at the DIA. The exhibition is organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. In Detroit, the exhibition is sponsored by *Bill and Karen Davidson. 

*In blessed memory.

Robert Frank@The NGA – A Very Good Day for Photography

Untitled, (que for Robert Frank Lecture at the NGA) - photo by Michelle Andonian

Queue for Robert Frank's Lecture at the NGA, March 26, 2009 - photo by Michelle Andonian

On Thursday afternoon, I, along with over 800 others, ended up in the nation’s capitol for a rare program with photographer Robert Frank and the National Gallery’s curator of photographs, Sarah Greenough.  Frank rarely makes public appearances, so it was an opportunity to listen and learn first hand about his photographic work, which currently is the subject of the fine exhibition Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans. While discussing several iconic images from his oeuvre, Frank humbly remarked, “It was a very good day for photography.”

Untitled - photo by Michelle Andonian

Outside the NGA - photo by Michelle Andonian, 2009

In their hour-long conversation, Greenough and Frank discussed his photography, influences (Bill Brandt and Walker Evans in particular), his love of America, and, most notably for me, a 1955 trip to Detroit to photograph what Frank referred to as “God’s Factory” – the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. For Frank, the automobile was an important part of the American dream, and he saw it everywhere. He thought it would be a good idea to see the place where cars were made and photographed at the factory for two or three days. It was difficult but worth it. The images were used in a number of his publications over the years including The Americans.

In March 2010, the DIA will open an exhibition of Robert’s Detroit work from 1955. It will be the first time these photographs will be on view to the public and an opportunity to see Detroit and the famous Ford factory the way Robert Frank experienced it at mid century.

Michigan connection brings Karsh’s portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso to the DIA’s photography exhibition

Yousuf Karsh, Georgia O’Keefe, 1956 (printed later); gelatin silver print. Gift of Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh in honor of Governor James and Mrs. Janet Blanchard, © Estate of Yousuf Karsh.

Georgia O’Keeffe, 1956, by Yousuf Karsh. Gift of Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh in honor of Governor James and Mrs. Janet Blanchard, © Estate of Yousuf Karsh.

While serving as U.S. ambassador to Canada from 1993-96, former Michigan governor James Blanchard befriended Armenian-born photographer Yousuf Karsh, who operated a successful portrait studio in Ottawa, Canada. In honor of Gov. Blanchard and Mrs. Blanchard, Karsh and his wife Estrellita donated to the DIA two portfolios of Karsh’s most famous portraits of notable individuals from the arts, sciences, and politics in 1991. A selection of the portraits are now on view in the exhibition In the Company of Artists at the DIA.

In perhaps one his most famous photographs, Karsh traveled from his studio in Ottawa to Abiquiu, New Mexico, to capture American painter Georgia O’Keeffe for a portrait around 1956. He later wrote that he had hoped to find in her “some of the poetic intensity of her paintings.” Instead Karsh found “the austere intensity of dedication to her work.” He made a quiet portrait of the distant O’Keeffe during a moment of repose in her home.

The exhibition includes Karsh’s images of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, and Isamu Noguchi on view through February 15.

Yousuf Karsh, Pablo Picasso, 1954 (printed later); gelatin silver print. Gift of Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh in honor of Governor James and Mrs. Janet Blanchard, © Estate of Yousuf Karsh.

Pablo Picasso, 1954, by Yousuf Karsh. Gift of Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh in honor of Governor James and Mrs. Janet Blanchard, © Estate of Yousuf Karsh.