BOCA RATON, FL.- In May 2009, the Museum debuted an ambitious reinstallation of several permanent collection galleries on its second-floor. The newly hung galleries present more than 150 photographs from the Museums extensive photography collection. The exhibition, CAMERA WORK: Photography from the Permanent Collection, takes its name from the pioneering magazine Camera Work, published by visionary photographer and galleryist Alfred Stieglitz from 1903 to 1917. The magazine championed the idea that photography was indeed art.
The Museums new photography installation will include several early photographs in the collection by modernist pioneers which were published in Camera Work. As with Stieglitzs Camera Work a century ago, a deliberate effort has been made in this exhibition to mix familiar and lesser-known photographers, styles of work, and a variety of processes in order to explore ideas about the influence of photographic culture during the last century.
Through this reinstallation of the Museums permanent collection photography galleries, the Museum reveals something of the nature of photographys history, its traditions and its possibilities. Because of the commonplaceness of photography, it has had slow acceptance as a rarified art form. Only in the last quarter-century has photography begun to hold its place among the visual arts.
Camera Work covers the history of photography with anonymous daguerreotypes, delicate albumen prints, antiquated glass lanternslides, glorious silver prints by important twentieth century photographers and contemporary color-saturated prints.
Images currently on view include:
GENERAL HISTORY with works by William Henry Fox Talbot; Platt Babbitt; Freres Bisson; Eugène Atget; daguerreotypes, albumen prints, lantern slides, historical works key to setting a framework for the century to come
SOCIAL AND DOCUMENTARY images by New Deal FSA and WPA photographers Marion Post Wolcott and Dorothea Lange; Margaret Bourke-White; Walker Evans; child labor and immigrant worker images by Lewis Hine; Berenice Abbotts New York; Bill Brandts London; and the Paris of Ilse Bing, Brassaï and Doisneau
MODERNISTS BETWEEN THE WARS such as Man Ray, Paul Strand, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Andreas Feininger, and experimental Steichen
CONTEMPORARY PLURALIST DIRECTIONS with a wide range of works by eminent 20th century and contemporary photographers such as Robert Frank, Helmut Newton, Lee Friedlander, Mary Ellen Mark, Garry Winogrand, William Christenberry, and Jerry Uelsmann, as well as contemporary conceptual images by Olaf Breuning, and the staged fictions of Patrick Nagatani and Gregory Crewdson.
Also on display in the photography galleries are historic cameras from the Museums Prigozy Photographic Collection, a gift from the International Center of Photography, New York, which comprises more than 250 cameras and related photographic equipment spanning the history of the camera from nineteenth century bellows and plate cameras, to early twentieth century box, pocket, and folding cameras, as well as early movie cameras.
CAMERA WORK: Photography from the Permanent Collection will continue in the permanent collection galleries for two years. Because of the fragility of many works, and photographys sensitivity to light, periodic changes to the photography galleries will take place, allowing works to rotate off exhibition and to rest. Visitors are encouraged to visit the second floor permanent collection galleries for new additions on each visit to the Museum.
Numbering more than 1500 images, the Museums photography collections represent a veritable textbook of nineteenth and twentieth century works spanning the history of the medium. From early processes to large contemporary works, the collection demonstrates the range of photographic media from documentary to conceptual.