William Wegman (2017)

William Wegman (American, b. 1943) is an internationally-renowned artist with a prolific career spanning more than five decades. William Wegman lives in New York and Maine where he continues to make videos, take photographs and to make drawings and paintings that he has maintained since the early 1970s. William Wegman became a household name for his enigmatic photographs of Weimaraner dogs. This presentation highlights the importance of mark-making and gesture that runs through Wegman’s practice as an artist exploring many media over decades, and will include a selection of the artist’s early conceptual videos, cartoonlike drawings and altered photographs from the 1970s and 1980s, large format polaroids of his beloved Weimaraners that demonstrate Wegman’s facility in commanding compositions, alongside his recent faux-naïve paintings based on found postcards.

Neal Slavin: Groups in America (2017)

Neal Slavin (American, b. 1941) is a celebrated photographer, well known for his keen portraits of various groups of people in the United States and abroad. Slavin finds the group setting a rich subject matter for exploration. He states, “My work is about that communal thing that happens between people when they get together and they put on their public persona as opposed to their private persona.” Because the photograph focuses on more than one person, the portraits can be investigated like maps, as connections are made between faces and bodies and connected to the larger whole. This installation of Neal Slavin’s Groups in America represents a portfolio of 15 photographs from 1979; the portfolio is a significant gift to Telfair’s contemporary photography collection and will be on view in its entirety for the first time. Given their documentary style, Slavin’s images document specific subcultures, ultimately moments offering insights into various slices of American life during the 1970s, using humor to state what it means to belong.

Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography (2016)

Watershed explores the increasingly fraught relationship between humankind and the environment, giving photographic aid to a concern that has reached global significance in recent years. Since the 1970s, landscape photographers have embraced this new relationship with the natural world, marking a firm split from the pristine worldview touted by midcentury landscape photographers like Ansel Adams. Displaying works that evidence the undeniable human impact on the earth, these photographers reveal the landscape as an activated space—one that is imprinted by mankind and marked by social performance. Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography is a recipient of an Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation grant.

Helen Levitt: In the Street (2014)

For more than seventy years, Helen Levitt (1913-2009) used her camera to capture fresh and unstudied views of everyday life on the streets of New York City. Roaming through the Lower East Side, Spanish Harlem and other urban neighborhoods, Levitt began her career equipped with a handheld Leica with a right-angle viewfinder that allowed her to remain unobtrusive as she documented life in the city. Levitt’s photographs, first in black and white and later in color, document neighborhood matriarchs planted on their front stoops, pedestrians negotiating New York’s busy sidewalks, and, perhaps most famously, boisterous children at play. This exhibition is now on a national tour to High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Milwaukee Art Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

James Nares: Street (2014)

Just as photographer Helen Levitt first began drawing her inspiration from the streets of New York City in the 1940s, contemporary artist James Nares takes today’s New York streets as his subject in his mesmerizing 61-minute high-definition video Street. His desire to record the present, as if from a great distance in the future, resonates with earlier chroniclers of the street, such as Walker Evans or Helen Levitt. Nares’ inventive use of the most modern technology available at the time of production resulted in a distinctive visual look that harkens back to the simulated three-dimensional effects of 19th-century stereographs, while also being utterly up-to-date in its evocation of increasingly isolated, virtual, and image-suffused existence in the 21st century.


Dan Winters' America: Icons and ingenuity (2012)

Dan Winters' America was the first museum survey of the career of the artist, who is best known for his iconic portraits of public figures ranging from the Dalai Lama to President Barack Obama, Hollywood celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Helen Mirren, and artistic luminaries from Jeff Koons to William Christenberry. His style of portraiture is instantly recognizable, characterized by impeccable lighting, muted backgrounds, and the contemplative postures of his sitters. Winters's lifelong fascination with science, technology, and human ingenuity finds similar expression in significant groups of photographs: close-up studies of honeybees and of airplanes and a magnificent series devoted to the last three launches of NASA's space shuttles. This lyrical body of work showed the same keen eye for lighting and composition, but with a decidedly more intimate ambiance: photographs of his wife and son, spare cityscapes, and elegant collages.

Fresh Focus: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection (2012)

Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, Telfair Museums has greatly expanded its holdings in photography, adding nearly 300 photographs to its permanent collection. While the Telfair continues to actively collect photographers of the mid- to late twentieth century, such as Helen Levitt, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Walker Evans, and Robert Doisneau, it has also developed a sizeable collection of photography produced in the twenty-first century. Fresh Focus will include approximately forty works that demonstrate the breadth and variety of the Telfair’s holdings of twenty-first-century photography, including work by Jack Leigh, Jerry Siegel, Julie Moos, Sally Mann, and others.