LOS ANGELES, CA.- The J. Paul Getty Museum
announced today the acquisition of sixty-six gelatin silver prints created between 1968-1977 by contemporary photographer Arthur Tress (American, born 1940). The acquisition primarily includes staged images of children from the artists series The Dream Collector (1972) and Theater of the Mind (1976).
Arthur Tresss images of children in dream-like scenes are captivating, disquieting, and wholly original, explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. These are the first photographs by Tress to enter the Gettys collection, and add depth and range to the theme of staged photography already in our collection.
Tress began his career creating straight street photographs in accord with the prevailing photographic movement in the 1960s, but soon began to explore the theatrical realm of the strange and grotesque. The majority of photographs in this acquisition explicitly visualize the terror, excitement, and confusion of childhood by placing children in the center of compositions and surrounding them with a destabilized world. One such image is Child Buried in Sand, Coney Island/Boy in Mickey Mouse Hat (1968), which features a boy half buried in beach sand and wearing a cock-eyed Mickey Mouse hat on his head. Although the boys demeanor suggests peaceful slumber, the photograph introduces elements of menace and ambiguity that are unsettling.
The acquisition complements existing works in the Getty Museums collection, including photographs by Diane Arbus, Dora Maar, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard that address children and childhood. Plans for exhibition of the images are to be announced.