Radical Vision: The Revolution in American Photography, 1945-1980


Radical Vision: The Revolution in American Photography, 1945-1980

January 14, 2006 - May 28, 2006

Radical Vision: The Revolution in American Photography explored the radical changes in American photography from the late 1940s through the late 1970s from the work of some of the best-known photographers of the time, as well as some important figures whose work deserves to be better known.

The decades after the Second World War were a time of incredible growth and change in the American photography scene. Parallel to the rise of Abstract Expressionism, American photography in the post-war years was marked by innovation and discovery and, like Abstract Expressionism, it made the United States the center of the art world in photography.

Recognized and championed chiefly by John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, post-war American photographers from Robert Frank to Diane Arbus, from Lee Friedlander to Gary Winogrand, questioned both the old socialorder — in order to expose racism and alienation in our midst — and the old esthetic order in photography. Challenging the hegemony of the sharply focused print that exhibited a full range of tones from white through gray to black — championed by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, among others — these photographers explored oblique framing, radical cropping, the use of the natural grain of the film, extreme close-ups, and subject matter that ranged from the disposed to the freakish to the oddly normal in American society.

The exhibit was drawn from The David Sestak Family Collection, and curated by the noted area photographer, critic, and editor Stephen Perloff.