Walker Evans American Photographs
A collective portrait of the Eastern United States during a decade of profound transformation.
This installation celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first one-person photography exhibition at MoMA, and the accompanying landmark publication that established the potential of the photographer’s book as an indivisible work of art. Together and separately, through these projects Walker Evans created a collective portrait of the Eastern United States during a decade of profound transformation—one that coincided with the flood of everyday images, both still and moving, from an expanding mass culture and the construction of a Modernist history of photography.
Comprising approximately 60 prints from the MoMA collection that were included in the 1938 book or exhibition, the installation maintains the bipartite organization of the originals: the first section portrays American society through images of its individuals and social contexts, while the second consists of photographs of American cultural artifacts—the architecture of Main streets, factory towns, rural churches, and wooden houses. The pictures provide neither a coherent narrative nor a singular meaning, but rather create connections through the repetition and interplay of pictorial structures and subject matter. The exhibition’s placement on the fourth floor of the Museum—between galleries featuring paintings by Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol—underscores the continuation of prewar avant-garde practices in America and the unique legacy of Evans’s explorations of signs and symbols, commercial culture and the vernacular.
MoMA | Museum of Modern Art
The exhibition was installed at MoMA in a 1260sf gallery with 120 running linear feet
8-12 Week Loan
The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) has been and remains committed to a vision of inclusivity at their institution. Their exhibitions and programming strive to provide, “art for all” and a voice for their community in the workings of their museum.
Art Bridges supported PMA in as a venue for the historic exhibition, Walker Evans American Photographs, during a time when our country was reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. PMA staff stated, “This exhibition came to the PMA at a time of national turmoil and economic instability.Its images of the hardships of the Great Depression provided a powerful historical context for our audiences to reflect on contemporary challenges.”