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Minor White: Manifestations of the Spiritby Paul Martineau
Synopses & Reviews
Controversial, misunderstood, and sometimes overlooked, Minor White (1908and#150;1976) is one of the great photographers of the twentieth century, whose ideas exerted a powerful influence on a generation of photographers and still resonate today. His photographic career began in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, with assignments for the WPA (Works Progress Administration). After serving in World War II and studying art history at Columbia University, Whiteand#8217;s focus shifted toward the metaphorical. He began creating images charged with symbolism and a critical aspect called equivalency, referring to the invisible spiritual energy present in a photograph made visible to the viewer.
This book brings together Whiteand#8217;s key biographical informationand#151;his evolution as a photographer, teacher of photography, and editor of Aperture, as well as particularly insightful quotations from his journals, which he kept for more than forty years. The result is an engaging narrative that weaves through the main threads of Whiteand#8217;s life, his growth as an artist, as well as his spiritual search and ongoing struggle with his own sexuality and self-doubt. He sought comfort in a variety of religious practices that influenced his continually metamorphosing artistic philosophy.
Complemented with a rich selection of more than 160 images including some never published before, the book accompanies the first major exhibition of Whiteand#8217;s work since 1989, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from July 8 to October 19, 2014.
"This gorgeous collection of White's photographs documents an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the first major showing of the artist's work since 1991.The book includes several complete series from the exhibition, which demonstrate the breadth of White's artistic concerns and personal passions, alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) erotic, contemplative, and abstractly sculptural. His photographs often evoke a spiritual, otherworldly realm while grounded in the concrete physical manifestations of the everyday world. For example, The Temptation of St. Anthony Is Mirrors, a sequence from the 1940s depicting White's student Tom Murphy, reflects the tenderness and pain of White's closeted homosexuality while referencing Christian martyrdom. White illuminates the sensuous yet transcendent orbs and crystalline filigree in a series shot in upstate New York called The Sound of One Hand.. Martineau's accompanying essay, informative if not groundbreaking, provides a straightforward biography detailing various hardships in White's life and they impacted his art and inspired his teaching career. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Paul Martineau is associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the author of Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance (Getty Publications, 2009), Herb Ritts: L.A. Style (Getty Publications, 2012), and Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature (Getty Publications, 2012).
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