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Baltimore Museum of Art Exhibits Never Before Shown Images in "Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960"
Kota Ezawa, Lennon Sontag Beuys. 2004. Collection Monroe Denton: Promised gift to The Baltimore Museum of Art. ©Kota Ezawa, Images Courtesy of Murray Gu.
BALTIMORE, MD.- The Baltimore Museum of Art presents more than 200 compelling and provocative images that showcase the work of more than 60 of the most remarkable photographers of our time in Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960. On view February 20–May 15, 2011, the exhibition features groundbreaking individual photographs and photographic series by renowned artists such as Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, and Cindy Sherman, as well as works by artists whose names are not as familiar as their influential images. Film and video installations by Kota Ezawa, Joan Jonas, and Anthony McCall demonstrate innovations in time-based media. The works in the exhibition are drawn from the BMA’s exceptional but rarely shown photography collection, and many of the images have never been on view until now. Admission to Seeing Now is free.

Seeing Now follows the BMA’s 2008 exhibition Looking Through the Lens: Photography 1900-1960 with powerful examples of how photographers have used the medium since 1960 to engage with a broad spectrum of technical, visual, and social issues. During this period, artists began presenting complex and often critical views of contemporary life that challenged viewers with their frank subject matter. They also explored the medium from a conceptual perspective, probing notions of time and reality. A greater use of color photography and an interest in experimental ways of producing images further extended photography’s creative possibilities.

Visitors will find the exhibition’s images organized in five broad themes that show how photography is inextricably linked to how we see and understand people, places, and events today.

• Seeing Pictures—Photographs of images from history and popular culture suggest the important role the medium plays in constructing identity, as well as photography’s complex relationship with reality. Thomas Ruff’s re-contextualized images of newspaper photos and Carrie Mae Weems’ haunting images of 19th and 20th-century photos of African and African Americans are two examples that demonstrate how the “truths” told by past images are open to new interpretations.

• Seeing People—The camera’s ability to invade a person’s private world can achieve an intimate connection between the subject, photographer, and viewer. It can also show differences in socioeconomic status, geographic location, age, or gender. Critically acclaimed series by Garry Winogrand and Larry Clark present dramatically disparate worlds—from beautiful women in New York City to self-destructive youth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A large-scale color print by Philip-Lorca diCorcia captures a candid moment on a busy street in Tokyo.

• Seeing Places—Detail-filled images of natural and man-made environments devoid of any human presence can make exotic locations seem close and familiar scenes appear strange. Photographers such as Bernd and Hilla Becher, Edward Burtynsky, and William Christenberry focused their works on a series of water towers, a mining site, and a foliage-covered house, respectively. These images document landscape changes for our contemplation, while William Eggleston’s color-saturated images embrace the eccentric opulence of Elvis Presley’s Graceland.

• Seeing Performance—Since the 1960s artists have redefined art-making to include the production of ephemeral experiences and events as well as objects. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ eight images of footprints in the sand are a reminder of lives lost to the AIDS epidemic. Joan Jonas shows the passage of time by greeting her camera every morning and every night for a three-week period in 1976, and then again in 2006.

• Seeing Photography—Examples by Anthony McCall and Hiroshi Sugimoto show how contemporary filmmakers and photographers use their own medium as a subject, making visible the physical and conceptual roles of light and time. McCall’s landmark projection, Line Describing a Cone (1973), literally thrusts the viewer into a cone of light as a line becomes a circle on film. This is the first time this 2006 acquisition is being shown at the BMA. Sugimoto’s Arctic Ocean, Nord Kapp (1991) carefully balances sky and water, revealing the timeless continuity of the planet’s bodies of water through photography.

The Baltimore Museum of Art | Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960" | Anthony McCall | Hiroshi Sugimoto |


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