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Abelardo Morell to Give Lecture at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Abelardo Morell, American (b. 1948). "Camera Obscura: View of the Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom", 2009. Inkjet print. ©Courtesy: The Artist.

KANSAS CITY, MO.- Renowned photographer Abelardo Morell will talk about his career and life’s work as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Photography Society of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The talk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 25 in Atkins Auditorium at the Museum.

Morell’s work has been acclaimed, exhibited, and collected world-wide. “He is renowned for his endlessly inventive interpretations of everyday things: books, water, children’s toys, a pencil and other common objects,” said Keith F Davis, senior curator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins. “His witty and original pictures testify to the fertility of his own visual imagination and to the transformative power of the photographic process itself. Repeatedly, he has reminded us that seeing is never simple—and that we invent the world in every inspired and imaginative act of perception.”

Morell may be best known for his series of camera obscura pictures. The first of these images, which pay homage to the prehistory of photography, were created by turning various rooms of Morell’s own house into imaging chambers. In this process, known since the Renaissance, a small aperture or opening acts as a crude lens, casting a faint, inverted image on the opposing wall of the otherwise darkened space. (In his more recent works, Morell uses a prism to cast a right-side-up virtual image.) Inside these room-size “pinhole cameras,” Morell places his own camera, which he uses to record the entire scene in exposures ranging up to a full day. These dreamlike images remind us of both the technical simplicity and the enduring mystery of the image-making process.

“Morell is one of the most original and influential photographic artists of the past 20 years,” Davis said. “His meticulously crafted works convey something absolutely fundamental about the excitement—and the potential magic—of photographic vision. He has a uniquely fertile artistic imagination and a deep curiosity about what the photographic process can do. The result is a body of work that is genuinely surprising, inspiring and important.”

The Photography Society was formed in November 2007 to support the activities of the Museum’s Photography Department, to encourage the collecting of photographs in the community and to encourage a broader understanding of the art and history of the medium through high-level public programs.

Members of the Society must first be Museum members at the Friends of Art Associate level (an annual donation of $250 or higher). Membership levels in the Society are $1,250 for the Collector’s Circle, intended for persons primarily interested in advice and guidance on developing their own collections. The Curator’s Circle, with a donation of $2,500, provides support for the full range of activities to fulfill the mission of the Photography Department. All donations are tax deductible.

“The Photography Society provides a lively and collegial forum for learning about this medium, while assisting directly with the public mission of the Museum to educate and enlighten. It is a wonderful group, and we hope to see it continue to grow in coming years,” Davis said.

The Photography Collection at the Nelson-Atkins grew from its initial holding of 1,015 prints to a collection of more than 7,500 works with the acquisition in early 2006 of the famed Hallmark Photographic Collection, perhaps the finest private collection of American photography ever assembled. “With that acquisition the Nelson-Atkins instantly vaulted to the top rank of art museums worldwide with major photography holdings. Thanks to continued growth since that wonderful gift, we now have masterpieces from the entire span of photography’s history, 1839 to the present.” Davis said.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art | Abelardo Morell | The Photography Society |

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