Andy Grundberg

  • The Man in the Street: Eugène Atget in Paris

    Although it's practically a given that Eugène Atget was the most influential photographer of the last century, the Getty may be right in assuming that much of today's audience missed MOMA'S exhaustive four-year, four-part Atget survey in the early '80s and viewers who did see it may be ready for a refresher. Curator Gordon Baldwin has put together seventy-two prints from the museum's collection, covering the turn-of-the-century Parisian scenes that are the basis of the photographer's reputation: shop windows, empty street corners, prostitutes, tradesmen, parks, and sculptures. These are complemented

  • Harry Callahan

    Is it time to reevaluate the legacy of Harry Callahan? The Detroit-born photographer's combination of rigorous formalism and casual intimacy can been seen in this show (organized by the institution's Carlos Gollonet) in the multiple exposures, high-contrast natural scenes, and family portraits as well as the old houses and modern skyscrapers he shot in color. Whether the exhibition will add up to a new take on this most American of American photographers, who died last year at age eighty-six, is an open question, but it will surely celebrate an artist who never lost interest in the seductiveness

  • Lisette Model

    Third in a series of exhibitions devoted to émigré Austrian artists, this eighty-plus-work survey of photographs taken between 1933 and 1961, organized by Viennese curator Monika Faber, situates Model in the context of an exiled artist whose understanding of social life was colored by her outsider status. Plausible enough: Consider Model's caustic photographs of the wealthy (first in Nice, then in New York City) and her sympathetic portrayals of those below the poverty line (often from the New York's Lower East Side). But the premise won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows Model best for

  • “Contemporary Photographic Art from Japan”

    There’s been no shortage of Japanese photography exhibitions of late, but this show has a leg up: Hiromi Nakamura, a curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan’s leading photo venue, made the selection. Nakamura’s choices emphasize the breadth of the medium’s current uses, from Mariko Mori’s latest video installation to Kunie Sugiura’s photograms. Among the eleven other artists in the show are several (Naoya Hatakeyama, Hiroshi Sugimoto) who take a more documentary approach. All work with an international audience in mind.

  • “Propaganda and Dreams: Photographing the 1930s in the USSR and the US”

    For American photography, the '30s were the heyday of the social documentary style, when figures like Dorothea Lange put a human face on the Depression. In the Stalinist Soviet Union, the decade saw the decline of the artistic vanguard and its gradual replacement with socialist realism. Could social documentary and socialist realism be opposite sides of the same coin? That's the argument guest curator Leah Bendavid-Val puts forth in bringing together the Farm Security Administration pictures taken by Lange, Walker Evans, and Ben Shahn with the contemporaneous work of Soviets from Aleksandr

  • “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities”

    Honored in Japan but virtually unknown in the United States and Europe, the seventy-eight-year-old photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto is nonetheless as much a product of the West as the East. A student at the fabled Institute of Design in Chicago during its salad days in the late '40s and early '50s, Japanese-born Ishimoto assimilated the influence of Harry Callahan and went on to produce graphically precise, strongly shadowed street photographs in both Chicago and Tokyo. (His book Chicago, Chicago [1969] remains a little-known masterpiece.) Art Institute curator Colin Westerbeck's 150-photo show

  • “A Look at Japan”

    Part of a city-wide photography exhibition that overlaps with the Venice Biennale, this compendium of sixteen separate solo shows assays the state of contemporary Japanese photography. True, not all the photographers live and work in Japan (Hiroshi Sugimoto is in part a New York artist, for example, and Keichi Tahara is based in Paris), but all share a common cultural heritage that presumably unites their work. The stylistic range is wide, and many if not most of the names found here—no Araki?—will be unfamiliar to all but the specialist. Walter Guadagnini, director of the organizing

  • Frederick Sommer

    FREDERICK SOMMER was an anomaly in American art, a photographer of desert landscapes, chicken parts, and collaged Old Master prints who was equally at ease with Max Ernst and Edward Weston. That he was a friend of both suggests the convergence of two otherwise discrete twentieth-century strands: American Purism, which pursued the sharp delineation of detail, and European Surrealism, which treasured intuition, chance, and the meld of horror and humor. Sommer’s photographs (of which there are few, given a career that spanned half a century) encompass both, using polished technique and a large-format


    Inasmuch as movies seem to wag real events these days, it’s not much of a stretch to see Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s recent color photographs of crowded city streets as film stills of everyday life. They certainly have the look: Artificially lit from off-camera sources that supplement natural daylight (the faces of certain passersby are highlighted more than others), these mise-en-scènes of pedestrians around the world have a nail-polish glossiness straight out of Hollywood. All that’s missing is the glamour. Instead of shooting recognizable stars and designer sets, diCorcia captures anonymous,

  • “Photographs, Drawings, and Collages by Frederick Sommer”

    If Sommer’s latter-day Surrealism is an acquired taste, the influence of his photography is guaranteed by its exquisite craftsmanship and fearless technical experimentalism. Whether employing smoke and cellophane to produce negatives, or cutting up old engravings to make collages that he later photographed, Sommer pursued a path unique in postwar photography. In addition to exhibiting fine examples of the photographs, curator Jay Fisher aims to enlarge our understanding of this idiosyncratic career by including drawings and collages that Sommer produced as works of art in their own right. The

  • Beat Streuli

    Beat Streuli, a spectral surveyor of behavior in public spaces, remains wedded to the street in this show of work from his recent travels to Sydney and Tokyo. What’s new isn’t so much the subject matter as the presentation: In addition to a dozen eight-foot-wide photographs, the exhibition will feature two rooms’ worth of wall-sized slide projections, video, and a sound track of recordings Streuli made on the streets while photographing. The Kunsthalle’s Rupert Pfab plans an installation that highlights Streuli’s comparison of Asian (Japanese) urban life with its Western (Australian) counterpart.

  • Walker Evans: New York

    Walker Evans ranks with Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand as a key figure in creating our modern conception of photography—which may explain why he’s enjoying simultaneous high-quality museum shows. On the heels of the High Museum’s traveling exhibition, the Getty’s show concentrates on the photographer’s work from the late ’20s and early ’30s, including views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan skyscrapers, and Times Square signs. Chosen by Judith Keller of the Getty, some of the 100-plus pictures offer a glimpse of Evans’ mature, FSA-era documentary style; other, more experimental shots put flesh