A Generous Medium: Photography at Wellesley 1972-2012 opened last night at the Davis Museum. This exhibit features more than 130 photographs collected by Wellesley College curators through the years and features works selected for interpretation by sixty-five participants—Davis directors and curators, Wellesley faculty, alumnae in the field, and major patrons. With a wide range of techniques represented, the collection tells the story of photography over nearly two centuries.
The exhibit features works from William Henry Fox Talbot’s Oriel Window at Lacock Abbey, (a print from one of the oldest photographic negatives in existence) to the contemporary works of Cindy Sherman and James Casebere, and photographs by some of history’s most iconic image makers, including works by: Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Gertrude Käsebier, André Kertész, Danny Lyon, Susan Meiselas, Laura McPhee, Abelardo Morell, Nicholas Nixon, Lorraine O’Grady, Edward Ruscha, Fazal Sheikh, Jem Southam, Carrie Mae Weems, Edward Weston, and Garry Winogrand.
“With this exhibition, the Davis honors and investigates the extraordinary legacy of collecting and pedagogical leadership in photography at Wellesley College,” stated Lisa Fischman, the Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum. “It is exciting to see rarely viewed photographs, consider the works in our collection from different perspectives, and reconnect colleagues in the process.”
The project draws inspiration from the historic Photography within the Humanities initiative of 1975–77, conceived by former Wellesley faculty members Eugenia Parry and Wendy Snyder MacNeil. Visitors from the national photographic community chose photographs that culminated in an exhibition organized by former museum director Ann Gabhart.
Curated by Lucy Flint, with Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum, and Hannah Townsend ’11, A Generous Medium: Photography at Wellesley College, 1972–2012 has been realized with major funding from The J. Paul Getty Trust. Additional funding has been provided through the generous support of the Judith Blough Wentz ’57 Museum Programs Fund, the Betsy Patterson Colburn Endowed Fund for Davis Museum Program Support, and Wellesley College Friends of Art. The exhibition catalogue has been supported through the visionary generosity of Rosamond Vaule ’59 and Tucker Harris ’59, and the Linda Wyatt Gruber ’66 Photography Fund.
The selections are organized by date of acquisition, an unconventional display. The exhibit will be on display at the Davis until December 16 and is free and open to the public.
The Fall arts season is already in full swing -- visit the campus and pick up a print copy of the Fall 2012 Arts & Events Calendar (or view it online) to see the full range of events happening this fall at Wellesley College - from theater and dance, to musical performances and lectures, there's something for everyone (again!) this season. Join our mailing list to receive a copy of the calendar in the mail.
Did you go to the opening of A Generous Medium last night? If so, what are your reflections on the exhibit? If not, do you plan to visit the exhibit?