Lee Krasner at the beach, ca. 1945. Photographer unknown. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.)
Snapshots—thousands of them—are tucked away among the letters, documents and diaries of artists in the Archives of American Art. Most of these images date from the golden age of snapshot photography—the 1920s through the 1960s—when cameras first became widely owned and were used to document all kinds of occasions, both public and private. In today’s digital age of point-and-shoot, instant playback and Photoshop, snapshots evoke an earlier era of photography, when there was a charm in capturing, saving and sharing even the simplest of scenes. Capturing the authentic and the incidental, snapshots provide an intimate look into artists’ lives—who they knew, who they loved, where they worked, where they went and, perhaps most important, the little moments that made their lives rich and full.
A new exhibition, “Little Pictures, Big Lives: Snapshots from the Archives of American Art” is an intimate look into the lives of “larger than life” artists. It is on display through Oct. 3 in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at the Smithsonian’s Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.
This exhibition was guest curated by Merry Foresta, who will give a gallery talk July 15 at 3 p.m. The Archives of American Art is the world’s pre-eminent resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America. For more information, visit the Archives website at www.aaa.si.edu.
Posted: 10 July 2011