August 19, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Blank One Gallery
One of the most common subjects depicted in Western painting in the late 19th- to mid-20th centuries was the city. Starting with the Impressionists, the city was the ultimate symbol of Modernism—a phenomenon that thrilled, excited, troubled, and dismayed the people of its time. The representation of the city is even more intrinsic to photography, invented as it was in 1839 at the dawn of Modernism. Eugene Atget's systematic recording of the old, disappearing sections of Paris at the turn of the last century; Berenice Abbott's similarly exhaustive portrait of New York City in the 1930s; and Garry Winogrand's iconic "snapshot" photography capturing the dynamics of life in New York in the 1960s and 1970s are a few examples.
Featuring works from the Art Center's permanent collections, this exhibition will explore the ways that painting and photography not only captured the novelty of Modernism but also addressed the politics of class, race, and gender as it was played out on the city streets.
Untitled, from "Women are Beautiful"
Gelatin silver print
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Jeff Perry in honor of Myron and Jacqueline Blank, 2006.40
Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines