Monday, March 5, 2018

Sally Mann at the National Gallery of Art

Distinguished Southern photographer Sally Mann is having a major retrospective show of her work at National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, up now through May 28th, 2018. 

This is too important an event for Southern photography for me to let it slip by unnoticed.  

This show signals Mann's acceptance as among the most distinguished of living American artists

The show contains some 110 of Mann's photographs, ranging over her entire career. Here is what the National Gallery says about the show:

"For more than forty years, Sally Mann (American, born 1951) has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s magisterial indifference to human endeavor. 

"What unites this broad body of work is that it is all bred of a place, the American South. A native of Lexington, Virginia, Mann has long written about what it means to live in the South and be identified as a southerner. 

"Using her deep love of her native land and her knowledge of its fraught history, she asks provocative questions—about history, identity, race, and religion—that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries.  

"Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings considers how Mann’s relationship with this land has shaped her work and how the legacy of the South—as both homeland and graveyard, refuge and battleground—continues to permeate American identity.

"Organized into five sections—Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains—and including many works not previously published or publicly shown, the exhibition is the first major survey of the artist’s work to travel internationally. 

"The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays that explore the development of Mann’s art; her family photographs; the landscape as repository of personal, cultural, and racial memory; and her debt to 19th-century photographers and techniques."

Mann's show will travel after it closes in DC to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., then to venues in Los Angeles, Houston, Paris and Atlanta. 

This is a not-to-be-missed show for all of us, and for anyone interested in Southern photography.  

Here is a review of this show, from the Washington Post.