PHILADELPHIA — “9 Perspectives On a Photography Collection” mines the extensive photography holdings in the University of Pennsylvania’s Art Collection of more than 800 prints acquired during the last 100 years and will open at the Arthur Ross Gallery on Nov. 12.
Most are in the form of traditionally sized silver gelatin prints, created during the 1940s through the late 1980s. The University’s photography collection is a “Who’s Who” of the greatest 20th-century photographers, including Ralph Gibson, Larry Clark, Garry Winogrand, W. Eugene Smith, Harold Edgerton, Elliott Erwitt, Manuel Bravo, Helmut Newton and Edward Steichen.
Lynn Marsden-Atlass, University curator and director of the Arthur Ross Gallery, invited Gabriel Martinez, artist and senior lecturer of photography in the Department of Fine Arts in the Penn School of Design, to guest-curate an exhibition drawn exclusively from the collection for the Gallery. Martinez viewed and studied more than 800 photographs, and then, to mix things up, he invited his eight photography colleagues, who are also working artists, from Fine Arts, to curate some of the photographs from their distinct point of view, transforming the exhibition into a presentation of nine curatorial voices.
For more than a year, while poring over photographs for this exhibition, Martinez and Heather Gibson, University collections manager, also digitized and documented each photograph. The newly digitized images are available online at www.upenn.edu/curator. As a result, fine-arts and art-history faculty now have access to a selection of photographs from which to teach while they are on exhibition and to use in digital format.
“9 Perspectives on a Photography Collection” is the third in a series of exhibitions highlighting the Penn’s Art Collection. As with “Naked: The University Collection Unveiled” and “Double Take: Series, Multiples and Prints,” “9 Perspectives” reveals the breadth of the collection. This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Office of the Curator and the Arthur Ross Gallery. Additional support is provided by Mrs. Arthur Ross, George Gillespie, the Arthur Ross Foundation and the Friends of the Arthur Ross Gallery.
“9 Perspectives” continues at the Arthur Ross Gallery through Jan. 27.
The Gallery is located at 220 S. 34th St., Philadelphia, and is free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5 p.m.