Alec Soth’s “Sleeping by the Mississippi”

Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi, a distillation of images taken on several trips down the Mississippi River, is the artist’s addition to the canon of road-trip photography books. Sleeping meanders through a somber tableau of portraits and landscapes the artist encountered using the storied river as his guide. A preponderance of images referencing sleeping and dreaming thematically hold the images together and relate to Soth’s interest in making art in the liminal state between waking and dreaming. In the colophon Soth writes, “My dream was realized in the making of this book. There is no greater joy than wide-eyed wandering.”

MACK, publisher of the latest edition of Sleeping by the Mississippi, recognizes the book as “one of the defining publications in the photobook era.”

In addition to having copies of all the published editions, the museum’s research library has a rare, unpublished mock-up with original inkjet prints (edition of 30). An exhibition featuring all these editions gives viewers an opportunity to study the evolution of this photobook classic. Please visit the library’s reading room during our public hours to view these books through September 2018.

View text panel and checklist.

Photography exhibitions to see during the ARLIS/NA New York Conference

Stephen Shore

Through May 28

The Museum of Modern Art

Stephen Shore encompasses the entirety of the artist’s work of the last five decades, during which he has conducted a continual, restless interrogation of image making, from the gelatin silver prints he made as a teenager to his current engagement with digital platforms.

One of the most significant photographers of our time, Stephen Shore (American, b. 1947) has often been considered alongside other artists who rose to prominence in the 1970s by capturing the mundane aspects of American popular culture in straightforward, unglamorous images. But Shore has worked with many forms of photography, switching from cheap automatic cameras to large-format cameras in the 1970s, pioneering the use of color before returning to black and white in the 1990s, and in the 2000s taking up the opportunities of digital photography, digital printing, and social media.

The artist’s first survey in New York to include his entire career, this exhibition will both allow for a fuller understanding of Shore’s work, and demonstrate his singular vision—defined by an interest in daily life, a taste for serial and often systematic approaches, a strong intellectual underpinning, a restrained style, sly humor, and visual casualness—and uncompromising pursuit of photography’s possibilities.

The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography

Through April 7th

Scandinavia House

The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography now on view at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America brings the photographic work of the master painter to NYC for its first showing in the U.S.

Internationally celebrated for his paintings, prints, and watercolors, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) also took photographs. This exhibition of photographs, films, and a small selection of prints by Edvard Munch emphasizes the artist’s experimentalism, examining his exploration of the camera as an expressive medium. By probing and exploiting the dynamics of “faulty” practice, such as distortion, blurred motion, eccentric camera angles, and other photographic “mistakes,” Munch photographed himself and his immediate environment in ways that rendered them poetic. In both still images and in his few forays with a hand-held moving-picture camera, Munch not only archived images, but invented them.


Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died

Through May 6th

International Center for Photography

British photographer Edmund Clark has spent ten years exploring structures of power and control in the so-called global War on Terror. Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died presents photographic, video, and installation work focusing on the measures deemed necessary to protect citizens from the threat of international terrorism. It also explores the far-reaching effects of such methods of control on issues of security, secrecy, legality, and ethics.


Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II

Through May 6th

International Center for Photography

Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II examines a dark episode in US history when, in the name of national security, the government incarcerated 120,000 citizens and legal residents during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, set in motion the forced removal and imprisonment of all people of Japanese ancestry (citizens and non-citizens alike) living on or near the West Coast. This exhibition features works by renowned photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others documenting the eviction of Japanese Americans and permanent Japanese residents from their homes as well as their subsequent lives in incarceration camps. Also included are photographs by incarcerated photographer Toyo Miyatake. This timely exhibition reexamines this history and presents new research telling the stories of the individuals whose lives were upended due to racial bigotry.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life

Through May 20

The Morgan Library & Museum

The life and art of Peter Hujar (1934–1987) were rooted in downtown New York. Private by nature, combative in manner, well-read, and widely connected, Hujar inhabited a world of avant-garde dance, music, art, and drag performance. His mature career paralleled the public unfolding of gay life between the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

In his loft studio in the East Village, Hujar focused on those who followed their creative instincts and shunned mainstream success. He made, in his words, “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects,” immortalizing moments, individuals, and subcultures passing at the speed of life.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life—on view at the Morgan from January 26 through May 20—presents one hundred and forty photographs by this enormously important and influential artist. Drawn from the extensive holdings of his work at the Morgan and from nine other collections, the show and its catalog follow Hujar from his beginnings in the mid-1950s to his central role in the East Village art scene three decades later.


King in New York

Through June 1

Museum of the City of New York

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., King in New York traces the civil rights leader’s encounters with New York from the 1950s until his assassination in 1968. The exhibition’s historic images chronicle King’s sermons in churches and speeches to the United Nations, his discussions about race relations with New York City’s mayor, and his relationships with New York’s own networks of activists. Together, they reveal a lesser-known side of King’s work and demonstrate the importance of New York City in the national civil rights movement.


Prison Nation

February 7 – March 7

Aperture Gallery

Most prisons and jails across the United States do not allow prisoners to have access to cameras. At a moment when 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the US, 3.8 million people are on probation, and 870,000 former prisoners are on parole, how can images tell the story of mass incarceration when the imprisoned don’t have control over their own representation? How can photographs visualize a reality that disproportionately affects people of color, and, for many, remains outside of view?

This exhibition coincides with the publication of “Prison Nation,” Aperture magazine’s spring issue organized with the scholar Nicole R. Fleetwood, an expert on art’s relation to incarceration. Addressing the unique role photography plays in creating a visual record of a national crisis, this exhibition and issue are accompanied by a series of six public programs—featuring speakers such as Nigel Poor, Aliya Hana Hussain, Keith Calhoun, Chandra McCormich, Jamel Shabazz, Deborah Luster, Bruce Jackson, Shani Jamila, Jesse Krimes, Sable Elyse Smith, Joseph Rodriguez, and more—all to take place at Aperture Foundation’s gallery.


Quicksilver Brilliance: Adolf de Meyer

Through April 8

Metropolitan Museum of Art

A member of the “international set” in fin-de-siècle Europe, Baron Adolf de Meyer (1868–1946) was also a pioneering photographer, known for creating works that transformed reality into a beautiful fantasy. Quicksilver Brilliance is the first museum exhibition devoted to the artist in more than 20 years and the first ever at The Met. Some 40 works, drawn entirely from The Met collection, demonstrate the impressive breadth of his career.

The exhibition includes dazzling portraits of well-known figures of his time: the American socialite Rita de Acosta Lydig; art patron and designer Count Étienne de Beaumont; aristocrat and society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell; and celebrated entertainer Josephine Baker, among others. A highlight of the presentation is an exceptional book—one of only seven known copies—documenting Nijinsky’s scandalous 1912 ballet L’Après-midi d’un faune. This rare album represents de Meyer’s great success in capturing the movement and choreography of dance, a breakthrough in the history of photography. Also on view are the artist’s early snapshots made in Japan, experiments with color processes, and inventive fashion photographs.


William Eggleston: Los Alamos

Through May 28

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The American photographer William Eggleston (born 1939) emerged in the early 1960s as a pioneer of modern color photography. Now, 50 years later, he is arguably its greatest exemplar. This exhibition features a landmark gift to The Met by Jade Lau of the artist’s most notable portfolio, Los Alamos. Comprising 75 dye transfer prints from color negatives made between 1965 and 1974, the series has never been shown in its entirety in New York City and includes the artist’s first color photograph (Untitled, Memphis, 1965) of a young clerk pushing a train of shopping carts at a supermarket in Memphis, Tennessee.



Before/On/After: William Wegman        and California Conceptualism

Through July 15

Metropolitan Museum of Art

This exhibition surveys Conceptual art as it developed in Southern California in the 1970s. It is occasioned by the artist William Wegman’s extraordinary recent gift to the Museum of 174 short videos that he made between 1970 and 1999—his entire career in this medium. A 90-minute selection of videos from this gift is shown accompanied by photographs and drawings by Wegman as well as drawings, prints, and photographs by his contemporaries in Southern California such as John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Douglas Huebler, Ed Ruscha, and others.


LaToya Ruby Frazier

Through February 25

Gavin Brown’s enterprise

“Through photographs, videos and text I use my artwork as a platform to advocate for others, the oppressed, the disenfranchised. When I encounter an individual or family facing inequality I create visibility through images and story-telling to expose the violation of their human rights.” – LaToya Ruby Frazier

On January 14, Gavin Brown’s enterprise will open its debut solo exhibition by the artist and photographer, LaToya Ruby Frazier, her largest exhibition in New York to date.  A recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2015, LaToya Ruby Frazier’s artistic practice spans a range of media that incorporates photography, video and performance and centers on the nexus of social justice, cultural change and commentary on the American experience. This exhibition features three distinct recent bodies of work: Flint is FamilyThe Notion of Family, and A Pilgrimage to Noah Purifoy’s Desert Art Museum whose themes address Frazier’s deeply rooted and long held concerns exploring the legacies of racism, inequality, economic decline, access to healthcare and environmental justice.



Tina Barney: Landscapes

Through March 3

Paul Kasmin Gallery

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce Landscapes, an exhibition of new and never-before-seen works by Tina Barney.  The exhibition will be on view from January 17 through March 3, 2018, at 297 Tenth Avenue.  This is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition in the past three years, and her second at the gallery, following major recent exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien in 2017 and the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2015.  In September 2017 Rizzoli USA published Tina Barney, a comprehensive monograph spanning her four-decade international career.

Alongside her oeuvre of portraits portraying the daily life of the social elite that Barney is most known for, exists an entire series of landscape photographs taken by Barney using her 8 by 10-inch view camera.  Barney first began her experimentation with landscape photography in the late 1980s and would not revisit the subject again until the summer of 2017.  Returning to her familiar New England backdrop, Barney champions distant views of shingled houses, rocky coastlines, small town thoroughfares and main street squares, challenging herself out-of-doors to refine and build upon her mastery of compositional tactics.  With these landscapes, Barney takes new ownership over the large format medium of color photography, employing the same sophisticated devices but with an expanded field of vision.–landscapes



Thinking about New Orleans: Photography

Previously published on the ARLIS/NA 45th Annual Conference Blog.

It’s a Friday, and you have another weekend to consider your trip and make plans to attend the annual ARLIS/NA conference this coming February — which is fast-approaching. We will be in the beautiful city of New Orleans for Arts du Monde. Registration is now open.

We recently examined NOLA-centric films, so let’s take a look (of course!) at still photography related to New Orleans. When it comes to photography collections, New Orleans is the proverbial embarrassment of riches, but here are just few of interest.

A 1978 film mentioned in my last post on Thinking about New Orleans: Movies, Pretty Baby, relates to photographer John Ernest Joseph Bellocq (1873–1949) as well as to his photographs. Bellocq, well-known for his images of New Orleans’ prostitutes in the Red Light district called Storyville, also worked as a professional photographer making local views and doing copy work.

After Bellocq’s death, his brother, a Jesuit priest, inherited his negatives, and those negatives were eventually acquired by photographer Lee Friedlander, who printed them. Friedlander and MOMA curator John Szarkowski exhibited those prints at the Museum of Modern Art and in 1970 they produced E.J. Bellocq Storyville Portraits (Little Brown & Co.).

In addition to the film, several novels have featured a Bellocq-character. Read more about the real Bellocq in this Smithsonian magazine article.

The Historic New Orleans Collection holds the earliest known photographic views of New Orleans on paper. These salted paper prints were made by photographer J. Dearborn Edwards in 1858-1861. Edwards eventually moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he, known by then as J.D. Edwards, and his son and other family members, ran one of that city’s most prominent photograph studios for many years.

In 2009 The Historic New Orleans Collection produced an exhibit and accompanying catalog based on “The Antebellum Photographs of Jay Dearborn Edwards” called A Closer Look. That publication is an excellent examination of Edwards’s work, placing it in the context of the city’s cultural life and in relation to other nineteenth and twentieth century photographers’ work.

Another first in New Orleans photography was the first municipally-sponsored photographic survey of any American city. The photographer was Theordore Lilienthal (1829-1894), and his 150 large albumen prints were shown at the 1867 Paris Exposition. One of four American photographers (including Carlton Watkins) exhibiting there, Lilienthal won a Paris prize medal. Several of the buildings he photographed in the late 1860s were destroyed or seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

An excellent book on the man, his work, and urban topographic photography, is New Orleans 1867 – Photographs by Theordore Lilienthal, by Gary A. Van Zante (Merrell Pubishers Limited, 2008). Many of Lilienthal’s photographs are at Tulane’s Southeastern Architectural Archive, others are at the Louisiana State Museum.

Another past exhibit of the HNOC, The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City, focused on the images made by New Orleans–based photographer David G. Spielman. See some of these amazing photos at

Keep in mind that there will be a tour to The Hogan Jazz Archive Photo Collection, as well as to other Tulane University collections, offered to attendees of ARLIS/NA’s upcoming annual meeting. In the Jazz Archive there are over 6,000 images of New Orleans Jazz documenting “people, places and events important to the study of New Orleans jazz.” Represented are photographs by Ernest Bellocq, Arthur P. Bedou, Lee Friedlander, Michael P. Smith and many, many others.

Speaking of music, Ben Sandmel, who will be a panelist on “Pulse Points and Backbeats,” the Music Plenary at our February NOLA meeting, is a folklorist, music journalist, producer, musician, and author. His publication Zydeco! (University Press of Mississippi, 1999) was produced in collaboration with photographer Rick Olivier. Olivier, an award-winning New Orleans photographer, is represented in the permanent collections of both the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Olivier made his prints for Zydeco! “in the style of classic black and white silver gelatin” — read more on his project here.

You see? Here are even more reasons to be in New Orleans in early February for the annual conference of ARLIS/NA, it is truly Arts du Monde!


E. Lee Eltzroth,

ARLIS-NA 2017 publicity coordinator

The Vancouver Art Gallery is proud to present two important photography exhibitions this summer

Harry Callahan: The Street

A major retrospective of the American photographer’s work, featuring 150 images that Harry Callahan (1912-1999) made in the streets of Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Cairo, Mexico, Portugal and Wales.

Stephen Waddell: Dark Matter Atlas

Vancouver artist Stephen Waddell has created a new body of work focusing on underground caverns in the United States, Canada and Lebanon, photographed and printed in massive scale.

Both shows run from June 11 – September 5, 2016

For those that can’t make it to Vancouver, this book is available through the Gallery Store and other vendors: