An Exhibition of Modernist photographs at The Museum of Anthropology, featuring Modernist Photographers of the 20’s and 30’s.
Over one hundred vintage photos are on display at Vancouver’s MOA, until Jan 23rd 2011. Taken in the 20’s and 30’s by Man Ray and his contemporaries, Raoul Ubac, Charles Scheeler, Cecil Beaton, and others. The exhibit features photos of African masks, figures and ornaments displayed probably for the first time in 50 years, along side the actual 3D objects/sculptures.
The intention is to show “the instrumental role photographs played in the process by which African objects—formerly considered ethnographic curiosities—came to be perceived as the stuff of Modern art in the first decades of the twentieth century" quote by the Curator, Wendy Grossman. It took over 15 years of intense research to track down all the individual pieces for the show, because they had been distributed through widely different public and private collections on both sides of the Atlantic.
How the pieces were represented depended on the individual photographer. The framing and lighting, the camera angle, the kind of paper on which the print was developed, and the way the image was cropped all played a role in the message the photographer wanted to convey.
For example there is a composite photo for the promotion of the exhibit with shows how differently Walker Evans and Man Ray chose to photograph the “Bangwa Queen”. Evans photo is somewhat bland with very soft even lighting, but Man Ray’s has more dramatic lighting and angle giving the statue a fierce presence.
It sounds very interesting and I hope to make a visit there soon.
For more information on the event and Entry fees and Hours check on the Museum website