U.S.A. - COLUMBUS-OHIO - The Radical Camera: New Yorks Photo League 1936-1951


Change the world – one photograph at a time. Guided by a belief in the transformative power of photography, the Photo League took to the streets in the 1930s and 1940s to record the effects of poverty, war, racial inequality, and social injustice. Artists in the Photo League were known for capturing sharply revealing, compelling moments from everyday life. Their focus centered on New York City and its vibrant streets – a shoeshine boy, a brass band on a bustling corner, a crowded beach at Coney Island. Many of the images are beautiful, yet harbor strong social commentary on issues of class, race, and opportunity. The Radical Camera exhibition explores the fascinating blend of aesthetics and social activism at the heart of the Photo League.

The innovative contributions of the Photo League during its 15-year existence (1936–1951) were significant. As it grew, the League would mirror monumental shifts in the world starting with the Depression, through World War II and ending with the Red Scare. Born of the worker’s movement, the Photo League was an organization of young, idealistic photographers who believed in documentary photography as an expressive medium and powerful tool for exposing social problems. It was also a school with teachers such as Sid Grossman, who encouraged students to take their cameras to the streets and discover the meaning of their work as well as their relationship to it. The League had a darkroom for printing, published an acclaimed newsletter called Photo Notes, offered exhibition space, and was a place to socialize, especially among first-generation Jewish-Americans.

The first museum exhibition in three decades to comprehensively look at the Photo League, The Radical Camera reveals that the League encouraged a surprisingly broad spectrum of work throughout extraordinarily turbulent times. The organization’s members included some of the most noted photographers of the mid-20th century—W. Eugene Smith, Weegee, Lisette Model, Berenice Abbott and Aaron Siskind, to name a few. The Photo League helped validate photography as a fine art, presenting student work and guest exhibitions by established photographers such as Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Edward Weston, among others.

These affecting black and white photographs show life as it was lived mostly on the streets, sidewalks and subways of New York. Joy, playfulness, and caprice as well as poverty and hardship are in evidence. In addition to their urban focus, Leaguers photographed in rural America, and during World War II, in Latin America and Europe. The exhibition also addresses the active participation of women who found rare access and recognition at the League. The Radical Camera presents the League within a critical, historical context. Developments in photojournalism were catalyzing a new information era in which photo essays were appearing for the first time in magazines such as Life and Look.

As time went on, its social documentary roots evolved toward a more experimental approach, laying the foundation for the next generation of street photographers. One of the principal themes of the exhibition is how the League fostered a multifaceted and changing identity of documentary photography, and a move toward a more subjective, poetic reading of life.

In 1947, the League came under the pall of McCarthyism and was blacklisted for its alleged involvement with the Communist Party. Ironically, the Photo League had just begun a national campaign to broaden its base as a “Center for American Photography.” Despite the support of Ansel Adams, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, Paul Strand and many other national figures, this vision of a national photography center could not overcome the Red Scare. As paranoia and fear spread, the Photo League was forced to disband in 1951. As ARTnews said in their review, “This long-overdue and well-deserved survey demonstrates the extent to which the Photo League influenced our understanding of documentary photography.”

The exhibition was organized by Catherine Evans, William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography, Columbus Museum of Art and Mason Klein, Curator of Fine Arts, The Jewish Museum.

Following its CMA presentation, The Radical Camera exhibition will travel to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA (November 15, 2012 – February 24, 2013); and Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL (March 16 – June 16, 2013).

Columbus Museum of Art    19.04.2012 - 09.09.2012

Website & source : Columbus Museum of Art 

Website : City of Columbus

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U.S.A. - CHAMPAIGN-ILLINOIS - Walking in Paris: Viewing the City and Its Denizens in the 19th Century


Camille Pissarro

Statue d'Henri IV, matin, soleil d'hiver (Statue of Henri-VI, Morning, Winter Sunlight), 1900
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Merle J. Trees

In this installation, the museum invites viewers to visit Paris through a selection of paintings, prints and photographs that evoke the voyeuristic experience of the flâneur, an idle stroller who enjoys the urban environment in all its glory and decadence. The selection of artists include Pierre Bonnard, August-Louis Lepère, Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and several others.

Krannert Art Museum   22.05.2012 - 12.08.2012
Website & source : Krannert Art Museum
Website : City of Champaign
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U.S.A. - COLUMBIA-SOUTH CAROLINA - The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design


For millennia, humans have used chairs. The earliest surviving three-dimensional depiction of a chair is a clay model dating back to approximately 4750-4600 BCE. The oldest surviving chair is that of the ancient Egyptian princess, Sitamun, dating to approximately 1400 BCE.

In the 17th century, European immigrants to the New World brought furnishings with them, and used them as prototypes when they began producing domestically. It was not until the early-19th century that Americans began to manufacture chairs in a distinctly American style.

The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design is the first comprehensive exhibition of American chair design in the history of the Museum and serves as a complement and a contrast to the popular exhibition of international chair design — One Hundred Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum Collection — held in 1999.

Hailing from the Jacobsen Collection of American Art, the exhibition documents the rich and varied evolution of American design, illustrating the emergence of new technologies and materials, changes in consumer preferences, and social and cultural developments. Designed for function, each of these sculptural works possesses a unique story.

The earliest chairs in the exhibition, both dating to the fi rst half of the 19th century, are a diminutive Ladderback Doll's Chair and a similarly styled Rocking Arm Chair designed and made by a Shaker adherent for use in the religious community in New Lebanon, New York. Made of locally procured woods, the chairs refl ect a nascent American consciousness. The Founding Fathers encouraged the domestic manufacture of finely crafted goods using native materials and technologies as part of forging a national identity.

The 19th century was a period of rapid growth and profound change for the fledgling republic. In the decorative arts, particularly furniture, the classical infl uence of ancient Greece and Rome gradually gave way to revival styles of other eras, yet with a uniquely American aesthetic. These styles infl uenced the design and manufacture of seating furniture, which by this time was being made en mass in factories. These factories employed a variety of media and new technologies, such as steam-bent and laminated woods, which were further embellished with rich stains and exotic veneers.

Made by the American Chair Company in Troy, New York, the Centripetal Spring Arm Chair (c. 1850) perfectly illustrates the Rococo aesthetic popular at midcentury. The boldly sweeping curves of the cast iron legs and the pierced neck rest are mirrored in the rich, velvet gauffrage (embossed) upholstery that covers the back and seat. This chair was designed by Thomas E. Warren and patented by him on September 25, 1849; Warren adapted his patent the following year in designing chairs for passengers on railway cars. In both designs, the stationary seat and back assembly "float" above quadruped legs through the use of eight iron springs radially arrayed from the central support post. The Centripetal Spring Arm Chair can move laterally as well as vertically, through a subtle shift in weight of the sitter.

Fast forwarding 100 years, Charles and Ray Eames’ LCW (Lounge Chair Wood) (c. 1945) is similar to the Centripetal Arm Chair, principally in the use of laminated and molded woods. Hailed by Time magazine as the "Chair of the Century," the LCW was praised for its compact and lightweight design. This appealed to a postwar rising middle class and a subsequent Baby Boom generation, who were looking for inexpensive, yet stylish, furnishings. In contrast to the mass production of the LCW — which is still being produced today by the Herman Miller Furniture Company, a testament to its timeless design — Vivian Beer’s sinuous and sensuous chair, Current (2004), embodies the spirit of the American studio furniture movement, which peaked around 1960 but remains popular to this day. Its proponents favored the aesthetics of craft and the handmade over the machine and mass production.

Beer's work pushes the boundary between art and craft, between utilitarian object and sculptural work of art. "I wanted this chair to seem as if it had been cut and crushed out of a single sheet of metal," Beer said of Current. "At the same time I wanted it to feel as fast and clean as water in its silhouette with the power of an implied brutal forming in the background. The balance and the trickery are important."

Through the more than 40 chairs in the exhibition, visitors learn not only the unique history of each chair, but also how they refl ect the broader historic, social, economic, political and cultural context in which they were created. The Art of Seating was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Jacksonville and circulated by International Arts and Artists (IA&A) of Washington, D.C.

Columbia Museum of Art  28.04.2012 - 26.08.2012

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Website : Columbia
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U.S.A. - CHICAGO-ILLINOIS - Martin Creed Plays Chicago


Work No. 845 (THINGS), 2007

Multicolored neon
6 in. (15.2 cm) high
Collection of Toby Webster, Glasgow, Scotland
Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

In works that range from intimate poetic objects to large-scale neon signs, Martin Creed (British, b. 1968) reevaluates the status of art with a generous sense of humor. As part of a yearlong residency at MCA Chicago, Creed brings his avant-garde sensibility to the building and the city. In each month of 2012, Creed unveils an artwork in a different space of the MCA, progressing upward through four floors of the building and extending his work outward to the sculpture garden and plaza and into the city of Chicago. Some works live as sculptures in the museum’s public spaces, and some projects are site specific—for instance, murals in the atrium and café. Others still, such as a work that takes the form of crumpled balls of paper placed in each of the museum’s public spaces, play with the notion of the carefully curated object. Extending his project beyond the MCA, Creed—who fronts a rock band—explores the city’s vibrant music scene as well.

The artist’s work and projects enliven the museum and the city and involve visitors in unexpected ways. As objects are presented throughout the building and city over the course of the year, Creed also gives several performances, building toward the US premiere of his first ballet, presented in the MCA’s theater in the fall of 2012. Martin Creed Plays Chicago connects this renowned artist to the MCA and the city of Chicago in ways that are as multifaceted as his practice.

Creed is one of the United Kingdom’s leading artists and winner of the 2001 Turner Prize. He lives and works in London and spends time in Alicudi, Italy. Creed’s work has been exhibited widely at a variety of international venues, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou–Metz, France; Tate Modern, London; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago   01.01.2012 - 31.12.2012

Website & source : Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Website : City of Chicago

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U.S.A. - CAMBRIDGE-MASSACHUSETTS - Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939


Untitled (Night View of Trees and Streetlamp, Burgkühnauer Allee, Dessau), 1928, Lyonel Feininger, gelatin silver print, Gift of T. Lux Feininger, Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Ger 146.4 (291). © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

One of the most versatile talents of the modern art movement in Germany, the American-born Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956) is celebrated as a master of caricature, figurative painting, and a distinctive brand of cubism, but he also created a fascinating body of photographic work that is virtually unknown. Drawn primarily from the artist’s own collection (now at Harvard University), this exhibition offers the first opportunity to consider his achievement within the medium. Focusing on the rich and productive period between 1928 and the late 1930s, when Feininger was experimenting with an array of avant-garde photographic techniques and printing his own work, these photographs range from early atmospheric night views made at the Bauhaus (where he took up the camera in 1928) to bird’s-eye views of New York City (where he settled permanently in 1937).

The Sackler Museum is the final venue for this traveling exhibition. Selected drawings and watercolors by the artist from the Art Museums’ collections will also be on view. Curated by Laura Muir, Assistant Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums. Organized by the Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, in cooperation with the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Catalogue (Winner, German Photo Book Award in Gold 2012): The accompanying catalogue includes an essay by exhibition curator Laura Muir, which explores the origins of Feininger’s photographic work at the Bauhaus, its development over the next decade, and its complex and ambivalent relationship to his work in other media. Based on Feininger’s correspondence, interviews with his son T. Lux, who witnessed his father’s work firsthand, and the artist’s collection of negatives in the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s Lyonel Feininger Archive, the catalogue presents a wealth of new information that dramatically expands our view of Feininger as an artist and the history of modernist photography.

Havard Art Museums   30.03.2012 - 02.06.2012

Website & source : Harvard Art Museums

Website : City of Cambridge

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