William Christenberry Photographs at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is pleased to host the traveling exhibition,William Christenberry Photographs, 1961-2005. The exhibition is on view from October 13-December 6,2008,in the Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery located in South Hall. An artist lecture will be held on Monday, October 20, at 6:00 p.m. in the Tower Auditorium. The opening reception is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

william-christenberry
William Christenberry, Rabbit Pen, near Moundville, Alabama, 1998 (plate 26, 8 x 10)

Since the early 1960s, William Christenberry has plumbed the regional identity of the American South, focusing his attention primarily on Hale County, Alabama. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of color photography, Christenberry draws inspiration from Walker Evans, while paralleling the work of international practitioners such as Bernd and Hilla Becher. Ranging from his earliest Brownie photographs to his later work with a large-format camera,William Christenberry Photographs, 1961-2005, is a survey of the artist’s poetic documentation of the Southern vernacular landscape and architecture that surrounded him growing-up. The exhibition, coupling never-before-seen photographs with images that are now iconic, reveals how the history, the very story of place, is at the heart of Christenberry’s project. While the focus of his work is the American South, it touches on universal themes relating to family, culture, nature, spirituality, memory, and aging.

Christenberry photographs real things in the real world-ramshackle buildings, weathered commercial signs, lonely back roads, rusted-out cars, whitewashed churches, and decorated graves. Dutifully returning to photograph the same locations annually–the green barn, the palmist building, the Bar-B-Q Inn, among others–he fulfills a personal ritual and documents the physical changes wrought by the passing of a year. Straddling the past and present, Christenberry’s art evokes the form and power of the passage of time.

While Christenberry is most often associated with and recognized for his photography, his vision is multifaceted and rendered through an unorthodox mix of media, which also includes sculpture, drawing, painting, and found-object assemblage.

William Christenberry (b. 1936) has been a professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Washington, D.C., since 1968. He is world renowned for his photography, sculpture, drawings, and paintings that pay tribute to his roots in rural Alabama. His work can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art in New York; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

This exhibition was organized by Aperture, a not-for-profit organization devoted to photography and the visual arts, and is accompanied by a stunning monograph entitled,William Christenberry, published by Aperture in conjunction with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The book is a comprehensive survey, presenting all aspects of the artist’s oeuvre as he intends it to be viewed and considered. More than half the work is previously unpublished.
Book Specifications:
12.25 x 10.25 in. (31.1 x 26 cm)
204 pages, 160 four-color and duotone images
Hardcover with jacket
ISBN-13: 978-1-931788-89-2; ISBN-10: 1-931788-89-8
$50.00
June 2006

Exhibitions at the college are free and open to the public. The galleries are located in South Hall, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston.

For current information, please log onto MassArt.edu, emailgalleryinfo@massart.edu, or call (617) 879-7333.
Gallery Hours: Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Wed. 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat., 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. Fully accessible.

Address: 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MBTA: Green “E” line.

Information:617 879 7333 or MassArt.edu

Massachusetts College of Art and Design, founded in 1873, is recognized as one of the premier colleges of art and design in the US. A public independent college, MassArt is known for providing broad access to a high quality professional arts education, accompanied by a strong general education in the liberal arts. The college offers a comprehensive range of baccalaureate and graduate degree, continuing education, and K-12 programs, taught by outstanding faculty and designed to encourage individual creativity. A major cultural force in Boston, MassArt presents public programs of innovative exhibitions, lectures, and events.

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