Photography Programming at Area Museums

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Forbidden Games:
Surrealist and Modernist Photography

Cleveland Museum of Art
Sunday, October 19, 2014 to Sunday, January 11, 2015
The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall
Through 167 photographs and illustrated books, the Raymond collection tells two stories: one of a radical moment in early twentieth-century art and the other of an impassioned collector whose adventurous spirit and vision harmonized perfectly with his subject. Beginning in the 1990s, art collector and filmmaker David Raymond judiciously sought out vintage prints from the 1920s through the 1940s that reflect the eye in its wild state (l’oeil a l’état sauvage), remaining true to the spirit of André Breton, a founder of surrealism. Raymond’s holdings of surrealist and modernist photography were distinguished by their quality, breadth, and rarity of subject matter. In 2007, the Cleveland Museum of Art made a major, transformative acquisition by procuring that collection, one of the most important holdings of twentieth-century surrealist photography that remained in private hands.

Vertiginous camera angles, odd croppings, and exaggerated tones and perspectives are hallmarks of the two principal photographic movements of the period, surrealism and modernism. As with surrealist efforts in other media, artists making photographs also aimed to explore the irrational and the chance encounter—magic and the mundane—filtered through the unconscious defined by Sigmund Freud. Eventually, photography became a preeminent tool of surrealist visual culture.

Artists from fourteen countries, representing diverse artistic pathways and divergent attitudes toward photography, come together in this collection. Many of the photographs reflect Parisian circles, with masterful works by Man Ray, Brassaï, Maurice Tabard, and Roger Parry. Soviet Russia is represented by Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky; Germany by László Moholy-Nagy and Erwin Blumenfeld, among others. In addition to these notable artists, the collection features many photographers whose work is not as well known in the United States, including Horacio Coppola of Argentina, Emiel van Moerkerken of Holland, and Marcel-G. Lefrancq of Belgium. A highlight of the collection is a grouping of 23 works by Dora Maar, a female photographer with a strong voice in surrealist Paris.

Admission to this exhibition is free.

For more information on this and related events, visit clevelandart.org.

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Film: Through a Lens Darkly:
Black Photographers and The Emergence of a People

Cleveland Museum of Art, Morley Lecture Hall
November 19, 7:00 p.m. 

Directed by Thomas Allen Harris. This overview of African American photography (and of how blacks were previously stereotyped and demonized in pictures) was inspired by Deborah Willis’ 2002 book Reflections in Black.

“Fascinating.” –N.Y. Times. Cleveland premiere.

USA, 2014, color/b&w, Blu-ray, 90 min.

Admission is $9; CMA members, seniors 65 & over, and students $7; or one CMA Film Series voucher. Reserve your ticket by calling 216-421-7350.

View the Trailer

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Akron Museum of Art
Lecture: Doug DuBois

November 20, 2014, 6:30 pm

Doug DuBois received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is an associate professor at Syracuse University where he teaches in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. His monograph, …all the days and nights, features a tightly edited sequence of photographs of his family made over a period of twenty years. Doug DuBois’ most recent work, My Last Day at Seventeen, is about coming of age in Ireland during the current economic downturn.

DuBois’ photographs are in the collections and exhibitions across the nation, Europe and Asia. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the MacDowell Colony and The National Endowment for the Arts. His photographs have been published by Aperture, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The New York Times, Time, The Telegraph and Outlook.

FREE and open to the public.

Seating is available on a first come, first seated basis.

For more info, visit akronartmuseum.org

This lecture sponsored by Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell and is presented in collaboration with The University of Akron Myers School of Art.

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The Believable Lie: Heinecken, Polke, and Feldmann

Cleveland Museum of Art, Photography Gallery
Sunday, July 20, 2014 to Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finally, if you haven’t seen it, do before it’s gone:

This exhibition brings together the influential 1970’s photographic / conceptual artists Robert Heinecken, Sigmar Polke and Hans-Peter Feldman.

A corrective to the egocentric model of the 1950s artist was due; hence the photograph, pervasive and democratic in its accessibility, became a lightning rod for artists seeking new forms of expression. The Vietnam era provoked a certain skepticism toward the media by artists in America and Europe that extended into a prolonged investigation of the photograph as truth, questioning its documentary nature. The barrage of popular imagery—from lush magazines to color television—became fodder for work aimed at exposing the cultural hegemony. As a time marked by underground political dissent, the 1970s was a decade when artists began working small, working privately, and working beyond the boundaries of commercial gallery system.

Appropriation, collage, serial narrative, the elevation of the anonymous photograph: each artist explored these concepts in increasingly sophisticated work throughout the decade. Strategies that emerged earlier in the circles of the surrealists and New Vision photographers—the untutored “photographic mistake,” photography as a form of literary pointing—adopted by the artists in this exhibition have subsequently been absorbed by the contemporary generation using photography as conceptual art, from Gabriel Orozco to Hank Willis Thomas.

For more, visit clevelandart.org.

 

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