Amon Carter Museum Showcases a Special Documentary Photography Exhibition

Release date: 
July 26, 2010

FORT WORTH, Texas– On October 2, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White. This special exhibition explores the work of three of the foremost photographers of the twentieth-century and the golden age of documentary photography in America. American Modern will be on view through January 2, 2011; admission is free.

Featuring more than 140 photographs by Berenice Abbott (1898–1991), Margaret Bourke-White (1906–1971) and Walker Evans (1903–1975), American Modern was co-organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. The exhibition is the result of a unique partnership between three curators: Jessica May and Sharon Corwin of the Carter and Colby, respectively, and Terri Weissman, assistant professor of art history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Together, the three curators present the works of these three artists as case studies of documentary photography during the Great Depression and demonstrate how three factors supported the development of documentary photography during this important period in American history: first, the expansion of mass media; second, a new attitude toward and acceptance of modern art in America; and third, government support for photography during the 1930s.

“This exhibition considers the work of three of the best-loved American photographers in a new light, which is very exciting,” says curator Jessica May. “Abbott, Evans, and Bourke-White are undisputed masters of the medium of photography, but they have never been shown in relation to one another. This exhibition offers viewers an opportunity to see works together that have not been shown as such since the 1930s.”

In addition to vintage photographs from over 20 public and private collections, the exhibition also features rare first-edition copies of select books and periodicals from the 1930s. American Modern, May says, “reminds us that documentary photography was very much a public genre–this was the first generation of photographers that truly anticipated that their work would be seen by a vast audience through magazines and books.”

A scholarly catalogue, published by the University of California Press, accompanies the exhibition. The museum has also prepared a mobile tour of the exhibition, which will be available on the museum’s website or on preloaded iTouch devices available for free loan from the Carter’s Information Desk.

American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White and its accompanying publication have been made possible in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

The Fort Worth presentation is supported in part by RBC Wealth Management. Promotional support is provided by Star-Telegram, WFAA, and American Airlines.

In conjunction with American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White, the Carter will host the following free public programs:

Saturday, October 2, 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Modern Documents: Photography in 1930s America
Amon Carter Museum of American Art Lectures on American Photography
This scholarly symposium featuring six panelists will reflect on the legacy of 1930s documentary photography in conversations about the exhibition American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White.

This symposium on American art, culture, and society by distinguished individuals is made possible by a generous gift from the late Anne Burnett Tandy.

Reservations are required. Boxed lunches are available to preorder for $8. Call 817.989.5030 or email to register.

Sunday, November 14, 1–4 p.m.
Picture This
Family Funday
Explore photography with your family by discussing artworks in the galleries and taking photographs!

Family Fundays are sponsored by The Junior League of Fort Worth, Inc., and Alcon.

Thursday, November 18, 6 p.m.
Evans in Film
Film Screening and Discussion
Discuss the role of early documentary film in the career of Walker Evans, and view film shorts by Evans and his friends Helen Levitt and Jay Leyda.

Because seating is limited, reservations are required. Call 817.989.5030 or email to register.