Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Characters Welcomed.

In the summer of 2008, the USA Network asked eleven photographers to “capture the character of America.” You may have seen the commercials for The Character Project on television. I always thought I saw a familiar face at work behind a large format 4x5 camera, and sure enough, it was Dawoud Bey, a past artist-in-residence and a long time friend of the Addison. Participants also include Jeff Dunas, Mary Ellen Mark, Eric Ogden, and Sylvia Palchy, among others, who documented their subjects from nearly every corner of our country—Alaska, Los Angeles, Chicago, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Washington. From organic farmers in the Northwest to people living along Highway 50, we witness glimpses of ourselves in our fellow citizens. The Character Project will be exhibited in various cities across the United States this spring.

I found myself wondering—how does the Addison’s collection, an exclusively American one, “capture the character of America?” I decided to stretch this idea beyond the medium of photography and time by featuring both historic and contemporary representations. I hope you will enjoy the Addison’s select cast of “characters.”

Alvin Langdon Coburn, III Mark Twain, 1908, 1905, photogravure

Henry Inman, News Boy, 1841, oil on canvas, museum purchase

Frederick Hayes, Untitled (Young Man), 2000, charcoal on paper, Purchased as the gift of Miriam M. and Charles O. Wood, III

David McGee, Corporate Girl / Side B, 1997, oil on canvas, partial gift of John Axelrod (PA 1964) and museum purchase

Wendy Ewald, Q from A Girl's Alphabet, 2002, digital print, gift of Robin Gates

Gaston Lachaise, Seated Woman, 1927, bronze, gift of The Lachaise Foundation, Boston, MA

Type A, Cheer (Slam), 2006, chromogenic print, gift of the artists

Winslow Homer, Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Born in Kentucky, February 12, 1809., 1860, wood engraving, purchased as the gift of Warren P. Snyder (PA 1936)

Michael de Lisio, Oscar Wilde in America, ca. 1882, 1968, bronze, gift of Sanford Schwartz

Dawoud Bey, A Young Woman Between Carrolburg Place and Half Street, Washington, D.C., 1989, gelatin silver print, museum purchase

Sally Mann, The New Mothers, 1989, gelatin silver print, museum purchase

Sal Lopes, Boy with Sign "Does Anyone Know", Nov. 1983, cibachrome print, gift of the artist

Posted by Jaime DeSimone, Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow

1 comment:

Joyce Owens said...

Great concept for an exhibition.

How about an open show, that is juried, to bring in artists using various art media from across the country interpreting the "characters" theme. Perhaps you will be able to add to your already good collection making one or more purchase prizes.

In the era of diversity (aka, The Obama era) it would be great to see more minorities represented in all important art collections, or at least given the opportunity for inclusion.