Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855-1985

May 13 - August 13, 2017

Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855–1985
 
Featuring a selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century photographs from the Museum’s collection, Picturing Buildings illuminates the enduring appeal of photographing architecture, from historic Turkish mosques and New York City skyscrapers, to industrial factories and intimate domestic interiors. Each of these visually and spatially complex sites provides photographers with representational challenges and endless opportunities to innovate. This exhibition explores how photographers working in a range of contexts—from travel photography and photojournalism to historical documentation and modern art—use architecture to develop pictorial strategies in their own medium. Through selective framing, dramatic perspectival distortion, and heightened contrasts between light and dark, photographers reinterpret their architectural subjects by focusing on the creative act of constructing a photograph. The resulting images reveal our surrounding built environment in new ways and highlight the intriguing transformation that takes place when the camera converts three dimensions into two.
 

Lead support for Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855-1985 is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and the Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment.

Images

Jean Sébah, Interior of the Mosque Amrou, ca. 1875, albumen print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Transfer from the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1980/1.201

Edward Weston, Western Plaster Mill, Los Angeles, 1925, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of The Morris and Beverly Baker Foundation, in memory of Morris D. Baker, a graduate of The University of Michigan, 2000/2.145

André Kertész, Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1929, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum Purchase, 2011/2.166   

Walker Evans, Breakfast Room at Belle Grove Plantation, White Chapel, Louisiana, 1935, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund, 2002/2.233

Berenice Abbott, New York at Night, 1932, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum purchase made possible by a gift from Helmut Stern and the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund, 2002/1.156

Harry Callahan, Eleanor, 1948, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Two Friends of the Museum, 1991/2.97

Linda Butler, Meeting Room, Sabbathday Lake, Maine, 1982-84, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Linda Butler, 1985/2.61

Timeline

Exhibition Timeline

SatMay 13
Exhibition Opens
Sun
May 21
2017
In Conversation: Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture
3:00pm4:00pm
Artists and Curators / Exhibitions Related / Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Jun 25
2017
Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855–1985
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Jul 16
2017
Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855–1985
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Aug 13
2017
Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855–1985
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
SunAug 13
Exhibition Closes