October 18, 2011 - CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts - More American Photographs
October 18, 2011

More American Photographs

More American Photographs

California College of the Arts
Kent and Vicki Logan Galleries
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247

T 415.551.9210


WITH NEW COMMISSIONS BY Walead Beshty, Larry Clark, Roe Ethridge, Katy Grannan, William E. Jones, Sharon Lockhart, Catherine Opie, Martha Rosler, Collier Schorr, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, and Hank Willis Thomas

AND HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS BY Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Jack Delano, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks , Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Marion Post Wolcott, and John Vachon

As the United States endures its most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression, the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts reexamines the well-known photography program of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which was active from 1935 through 1944 and employed such iconic artists as Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Marion Post Wolcott. Inspired by their example, the Wattis commissioned 12 contemporary photographers to travel the United States, documenting its land and people. Their new images will be presented alongside a number of pictures by the FSA photographers in the exhibition More American Photographs.

The new pictures, taken over the past year, reflect the diverse impacts of the current financial downturn, capturing both rural and urban America and speaking to issues of migration, gentrification, environmental negligence, and multiculturalism. More American Photographs hopes to update Stryker’s “file,” showing how some parts of America have floundered while others have flourished. To capture the disparities of wealth among Americans, Walead Beshty traveled to the richest (Fisher Island, Florida) and poorest (Allen, South Dakota) communities in America. Alec Soth found the migrant mothers of today in a labor camp in southern Minnesota. Katy Grannan traveled along California’s Highway 99, photographing areas that Dorothea Lange visited 75 years ago. Catherine Opie took a cue from Stryker’s instruction “Looking down my street” and photographed local shopkeepers in her neighborhood in south Los Angeles. Stephen Shore photographed the changing face of the East Village and Lower East Side in New York.

A full-color exhibition catalogue will be available in January 2012. Its design is based on Walker Evans’s American Photographs, one of the most influential photography books ever produced. The publication will feature the new commissions together with a number of FSA photographs, as well as an essay by the scholar Blake Stimson on the history of the FSA photography program and the parallels between the Great Depression and the recent economic crisis.

More American Photographs will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in spring 2012, and to Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, in spring 2013.

Visit wattis.org and cca.edu/calendar for current information concerning related programs, lectures, and events. More American Photographs is curated by Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute.

About the CCA Wattis Institute
The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area.

More American Photographs
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
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