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Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O'Sullivanby Toby Jurovics
Synopses & Reviews
In this volume, the Sheldon Museum of Art presents more than one hundred examples from its distinguished photography collection, which contains nearly twenty-five hundred objects. Encompassing the full range of photographic history, Encounters showcases recognized masterpieces, recent acquisitions, and rarely seen treasures by a diverse range of artists, including Berenice Abbott, Manuel and#193;lvarez Bravo, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gertrude Kand#228;sebier, Andrand#233; Kertand#233;sz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Yinka Shonibare, Paul Strand, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Encounters explores photography through the lens of transnationalism, highlighting the artistic, cultural, geographic, scientific, and technological conflicts and concurrences that have shaped the modern photographic image. Arranged thematically rather than chronologically, the catalog addresses issues such as tourism, souvenir production, and the search for authenticity in the face of increasing industrialization; the transmission of American, European, and Mexican forms of modernism; gender identity and sexuality; the real and perceived tensions between nature and the built environment; and the convergences of art and science, craft and technology. Images are set within their context by the catalogand#8217;s principal author, Brandon K. Ruud, and are accompanied by lively, thought-provoking essays by a team of scholars that includes Zeynep and#199;elik, Keith F. Davis, Gregory Nosan, Robert G. Oand#8217;Meally, Britt Salveson, and the museumand#8217;s director, Jorge Daniel Veneciano.
The image of the untamed American West persists as one of our countryand#8217;s most enduring cultural myths, and few photographers have captured more compelling images of the frontier than Timothy H. Oand#8217;Sullivan. Trained under Mathew Brady, Oand#8217;Sullivan accompanied several government expeditions to the Westand#8212;most notably with geologist Clarence King in 1867 and cartographer George M. Wheeler in 1871. Along these journeys, Oand#8217;Sullivan produced many beautiful photographs that exhibit a forthright and rigorous style formed in response to the landscapes he encountered. Faced with challenging terrain and lacking previous photographic examples on which to rely, Oand#8217;Sullivan created a body of work that was without precedent in its visual and emotional complexities.
The first major publication on Oand#8217;Sullivan in more than thirty years, Framing the West offers a new aesthetic and formal interpretation of Oand#8217;Sullivanand#8217;s photographs and assesses his influence on the larger photographic canon. The book features previously unpublished and rarely seen images and serves as a field guide for Oand#8217;Sullivanand#8217;s original prints, presenting them for the first time in sequence with the chronology of their production.
About the Author
Toby Jurovics is curator of photography at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Carol M. Johnson is curator of photography at the Library of Congress. Glenn Willumson is director of the graduate program in museum studies and associate professor of art history at the University of Florida. William F. Stapp is an independent scholar of photography. Page Stegner is a novelist, essayist, and teacher.
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