An Expanding Lens: New Photographic Acquisitions at the Mead Art Museum


Annie Oakley

January 26 - June 6, 2010
North Fairchild Gallery


This installation features highlights of new, never-before-displayed acquisitions from the Mead’s rich and expanding collection of photographs. Works included represent strikingly diverse artistic concerns, techniques, and locales.

“An Expanding Lens” features several photographs drawn from an important portfolio by David F. Barry, who, along with his mentor, Orlando Scott Goff, documented American Indians and U.S. Army participants in the Sioux War of 1876. Portfolio selections include penetrating studio portraits Barry took of many individuals historically associated with the Western frontier and its mythology, including Sitting Bull and Annie Oakley (pictured).

The display otherwise focuses on modern and contemporary photographers Wendy Ewald, Paul Ickovic, Joel Levinson, Duane Michals, and Frank Paulin. Widely regarded for her worldwide photographic collaborations with children, Ewald (Amherst College Visiting Artist-In-Residence) explored the racial politics of South Africa in a series from 1992, from which the Mead’s display showcases five poignant photographs. These are joined by a group of images of what California-based Levinson termed the “truly ethnic brotherhood” that congregated throughout his home state at massive flea markets, which the photographer documented from 1975 to 1977. The most recent acquisition in the installation, Michals’s The True Identity of Man (1972) is a signature work by this decorated master of the medium known for his sensuous and meditative imagery. Paulin, by contrast, extends the distinguished tradition of documentary street photography in scenes of New Orleans, New York, and Paris, works that betray his exceptional artistic pedigree as a former student of László Moholy-Nagy and Harry Callahan.

The exhibition is supported by the Templeton Photography Fund and the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund.

Exhibition Checklist