Posts Tagged ‘Summer Hotels

10
Mar
09

Exhibition: ‘Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Exhibition dates: 3rd February – 25th May 2009

 

Looks a very interesting exhibition – wish I could see the actual thing!

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Many thankx to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs and art work in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

“This exhibition will focus on a collection of 9,000 picture postcards amassed and classified by the American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975), now part of the Metropolitan’s Walker Evans Archive. The picture postcard represented a powerful strain of indigenous American realism that directly influenced Evans’s artistic development. The dynamic installation of hundreds of American postcards drawn from Evans’s collection will reveal the symbiotic relationship between Evans’s own art and his interest in the style of the postcard. This will also be demonstrated with a selection of about a dozen of his own photographs printed in 1936 on postcard format photographic paper.”

Text from The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Unknown Artist. 'Front Street, Looking North, Morgan City, LA' 1929

 

Unknown artist
Front Street, Looking North, Morgan City, LA
1929
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Walker Evans. 'Street Scene, Morgan City, Louisiana' 1935

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Street Scene, Morgan City, Louisiana
1935
Film negative
8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

 

“Sold in five-and-dime stores in every small town in America, postcards satisfied the country’s need for human connection in the age of the railroad and Model T when, for the first time, many Americans regularly found themselves traveling far from home. At age twelve, Walker Evans began to collect and classify his cards. What appealed to the nascent photographer were the cards’ vernacular subjects, the simple, unvarnished, “artless” quality of the pictures, and the generic, uninflected, mostly frontal style that he later would borrow for his own work with the camera. Both the picture postcard and Evans’s photographs seem equally authorless – quiet documents that record the scene with an economy of means and with simple respect. Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard proposes that the picture postcard represented a powerful strain of indigenous American realism that directly influenced Evans’s artistic development.”

Text from the Steidl website

 

The American postcard came of age around 1907, when postal deregulations allowed correspondence to be written on the address side of the card. By 1914, the craze for picture postcards had proved an enormous boon for local photographers, as their black-and-white pictures of small-town main streets, local hotels and new public buildings were transformed into handsomely coloured photolithographic postcards that were reproduced in great bulk and sold in five-and-dime stores in every small town in America. Postcards met the nation’s need for communication in the age of the railroad and Model T, when, for the first time, many Americans often found themselves traveling far from home. In the Walker Evans Archive at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a collection of 9,000 such postcards amassed by the great American photographer, who began his remarkable collection at the age of 10. What appealed to Evans, even as a boy, were the vernacular subjects, the unvarnished, “artless” quality of the pictures and the generic, uninflected, mostly frontal style that he later would borrow for his own work. The picture postcard and Evans’ photographs seem equally authorless, appearing as quiet documents that record a scene with both economy of means and simple respect. This volume demonstrates that the picture postcard articulated a powerful strain of indigenous American realism that directly influenced Evans’ artistic development.

Text from the Amazon website

 

Unknown artist. 'Main Street, Showing Confederate Monument, Lenoir, N. C.,' 1930s

 

Unknown artist
Main Street, Showing Confederate Monument, Lenoir, N. C.
1930s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

 

“Walker Evans was the progenitor of the documentary style in American photography, and he argued that picture postcard captured a part of America that was not recorded in any other medium. In the early 20th century, picture postcards, sold in five-and-dime stores across America, depicted small towns and cities with realism and hometown pride – whether the subject was a local monument, a depot, or a coal mine.

Evans wrote of his collection: “The very essence of American daily city and town life got itself recorded quite inadvertently on the penny picture postcards of the early 20th century .… Those honest direct little pictures have a quality today that is more than mere social history .… The picture postcard is folk document.”

Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard is the first exhibition to focus primarily on works drawn from The Walker Evans Archive. The installation is designed to convey the incredible range of his collection and to reflect the eclectic and obsessional ways in which the artist organised his picture postcards. For example, Evans methodically classified his collection into dozens of subject categories, such as “American Architecture,” “Factories,” “Automobiles,” “Street Scenes,” “Summer Hotels,” “Lighthouses,” “Outdoor Pleasures,” “Madness,” and “Curiosities.”

Text from Ephemera: Exploring the World of Old Paper

 

Unknown artist. 'Tennessee Coal, Iron, & R. R. Co.'s Steel Mills, Ensley, Ala.,' 1920s

 

Unknown artist
Tennessee Coal, Iron, & R. R. Co.’s Steel Mills, Ensley, Ala.
1920s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Walker Evans. 'View of Easton, Pennsylvania' 1935

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
View of Easton, Pennsylvania
1935
Postcard format gelatin silver print

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'View of Ossining, New York' 1930-31

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
View of Ossining, New York
1930-31
Gelatin silver print
4 1/8 x 7 13/16 in. (10.5 x 19.8 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1999

 

Unknown Artist. 'Holland Vehicular Tunnel, New York City' 1920s

 

Unknown artist
Holland Vehicular Tunnel, New York City
1920s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Unknown artist. 'Santa Fe station and yards, San Bernardino, California' c. 1910

 

Unknown artist
Santa Fe station and yards, San Bernardino, California
c. 1910
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Unknown artist. 'Men's Bathing Department, Bath House, Hot Springs National Park, Ark.' 1920s

 

Unknown artist
Men’s Bathing Department, Bath House, Hot Springs National Park, Ark.
1920s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard

 

Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard

 

 

“In 1903, the year Walker Evans was born, the US Postal service handled 700 million picture postcards. Evans would later recall his fondness for those “honest, direct, little pictures that once flooded the mail.” By the age of twelve he was a collector and through his lifetime, an obsessive. “Yes, I was a postcard collector at an early age. Every time my family would take me around for what they thought was my education, to show me the country in a touring car, to go to Illinois, to Massachusetts, I would rush into Woolworth’s and buy all the postcards.” For Evans, the addition of hand-colouring added a great deal of aesthetic value. …

Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard reproduces hundreds of cards from his collection including the three magazine features mentioned above. Also the fine addition of an “illustrated transcript” of his now famous Lyric Documentary lecture at Yale in 1964 makes this a bit more interesting than the title may suggest. …

Later in life Evans had friends around the country while on photo trips keeping an eye for postcards that might interest. He had a particular love for ones produced by the Detroit Publishing Company which were considered the “Cadillac” of postcards. Lee Friedlander related the following from a recent interview: “The Detroit Publishing Company had a formula. If a town had 2,000 people or so, it got a main street postcard; if it had 3,500, it got the main street and also a courthouse square. Walker liked the formula. He had everyone looking for this or that. He told me once in Old Lyme, “If you run across any ‘Detroits,’ get them for me.” I found sixty or seventy cards for him. He loved them.””

Text from the 5B4: Photography and Books blog

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) 'Stable, Natchez, Mississippi' March 1935

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Stable, Natchez, Mississippi
March 1935
Gelatin silver print
10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005

 

Unknown Artist. 'Future New York, The City of Skyscrapers' 1910s

 

Unknown artist
Future New York, The City of Skyscrapers
1910s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Unknown artist. 'Woolworth and Municipal Buildings from Brooklyn Bridge, New York' 1910s

 

Unknown artist
Woolworth and Municipal Buildings from Brooklyn Bridge, New York
1910s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Unknown Artist. 'Curve at Brooklyn Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge, New York' 1907

 

Unknown artist
Curve at Brooklyn Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge, New York
1907
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

Unknown Artist. 'Empire State Building, New York' 1930s

 

Unknown artist
Empire State Building, New York
1930s
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction
3 9/16 x 5 1/2 in. (9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994

 

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
Phone: 212-535-7710

Opening hours:
Monday: Closed (Except Holiday Mondays)
Tuesday – Thursday: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 9.30 am – 9.00 pm
Sunday: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm

Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard (Hardcover)
by Jeff Rossenheim and Walker Evans

The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

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