Featuring approximately 160 photographs, many of which have never before been seen or published, Anthony Hernandez will be on view as the inaugural special exhibition in the museum’s new Pritzker Center for Photography. The exhibition will present the full scope of Hernandez’s long and prolific career, celebrating the artist’s unique brand of street photography and how it has changed and developed over time.
“Hernandez’s photographs have long been admired by curators, collectors and other photographers,” said Erin O’Toole, curator of the exhibition and Baker Street Foundation Associate Curator of Photography at SFMOMA. “SFMOMA is thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce his incredible body of work to a broader audience.”
The child of Mexican immigrants, Hernandez was born and raised in Los Angeles. Largely unaware of the formal traditions of the medium, he developed his own individual photographic style, one attuned to particularities of L.A., its desolate beauty and sprawling expanses of asphalt and concrete. Over the course of his career, Hernandez has deftly moved from black-and-white to color photography, from 35mm to large-format cameras, and from the human figure to the landscape to abstracted detail, producing an unusually varied body of work united by its arresting formal beauty and subtle engagement with contemporary social issues.
Highlights from the exhibition will include black-and-white photographs from the early 1970s that were taken on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, color pictures made on Rodeo Drive in the mid-1980s and selections from his critically acclaimed series Landscapes for the Homeless that was completed in 1991. For this series, Hernandez photographed what had been left behind at vacant homeless encampments, offering glimpses into the lives of the people who once found refuge there. Anthony Hernandez will also feature more abstract, large-scale color work taken recently in Los Angeles and on the road in locations ranging from Oakland and Baltimore to Rome.
Hernandez has published six monographs, and his work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including SFMOMA’s Crossing the Frontier (1996) and MOCA’s Under the Big Black Sun (2011). In 2009, his work was the subject of a monographic exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery co-curated by artist Jeff Wall.
On View: September 24, 2016 — January 1, 2017
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103