Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SFMOMA Exhibits

Last Monday, my friend Inger and I went to the SFMOMA primarily to see the exhibit entitled Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities but we ended up being pleasantly surprised with two more great exhibits. I went to the Ansel Adams at 100 exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston several years ago and loved it so I was excited at the prospect of seeing his work again. Adams truly is a master photographer- I am even more impressed since he was not able to immediately view how his images turned out in his digital camera, like we do today. He definitely embodies the idea of patience and hiking to get the best views. Some of my favorite works were "Pool and Cloud Reflections, Yosemite National Park" (I love how the clouds are being reflected in the water- they look like he is photographing them directly), "Lake Near Muir Pass, Kings Canyon National Park" (I love how it is a perfect mirror image of the mountains), and "Sand Dune, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico."

I am a huge fan of Georgia O'Keefe as well- her paintings are DEFINITELY better in person. You are able to see the amazing gradations in color and how she was in complete control of this medium to evoke an emotional response. My favorite works of hers were "Red Cana," "White Birch," and "Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico."

O'Keefe and Adams were friends and they used similar subjects in nature. I had hoped that the exhibit would be directly comparing their works but that only happened a couple of times. I bought the exhibition book and love the title page that directly compares their work, along with having a photo of each artist.

No photography is allowed in any of the exhibits but I was able to snap two photos from the Richard Avedon that were outside the museum (thus, pardon the glass). This is one of his self portraits and the other was on of his high fashion photographs- I loved how he placed these models in the midst of the elephants.

Richard Avedon was involved with taking beautiful portraits starting in the late 1940s, most notably of Parisian models and celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and Bob Dylan. He worked as a photographer taking thousands of id photographs for the military when he discovered how much he loved it and decided to pursue it as a career. His work is simply stunning- showing just how beautiful and unique each individul is. You can click through some of his work on the exhibition homepage.

One of the other great photography exhibits was called "The Americans" by Robert Frank. Frank received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to drive around the U.S. for two years and take photos of the everyday lives of Americans. The photographs included gas stations, diners, automobiles, and individuals who probably would not have been the focus of photographers before. These images are very powerful, conveying the emotions of life in America.

All of these exhibits about photography made me want to go out and take photos- I do need to take a class though to improve my skills so that I can take really good pictures.


CS said...

I went to the Natural Affinities exhibit when it was in Palm Beach FL. I really LOVED it! I'm so glad you could go. Both artists created stunning works. So different, yet the show really helps you see where they influenced each other and crossed over, especially in their love of the southwest and its landscapes. :)

The Richardsons said...

Pinkberry, Ansel Adams, Museums of Art.... I am green from head to toe! I would love to have been in your shoes! :)