Anthony Hernandez Retrospective At SFMOMA This Fall

Anthony Hernandez, Discarded #50, 2014; © Anthony Hernandez; photo: courtesy the artist
Anthony Hernandez, Discarded #50, 2014; © Anthony Hernandez; photo: courtesy the artist

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.

Anthony Hernandez
On View: September 24, 2016 — January 1, 2017

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103

How I Learned to See Curated By Hanya Yanagihara At Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco

 Alec Soth, Riverview Motel, 2005. © Alec Soth, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Alec Soth, Riverview Motel, 2005. © Alec Soth, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

The exhibition brings together a varied array of photographs that Hanya Yanagihara has chosen for their significance to her growth as an artist. The overarching theme is one of a writer looking deeply at other artists’ creative work—specifically, photographs—as a process of learning and discovery.

Hanya Yanagihara remarked:

The challenge for any artist, in any medium, is to find work that inspires her to re-see the things and people and places she thought she knew or understood. So much of my artistic development is directly linked to the images and photographers I encountered through years of visiting Fraenkel Gallery; the work here has, in ways both direct and not, influenced my own fiction.

How I Learned to See is organized by six sections or “chapters” on the subjects of loneliness, love, aging, solitude, beauty, and discovery. Yanagihara has selected an idiosyncratic mix, with iconic and less familiar works by 12 artists: Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Elisheva Biernoff, Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Katy Grannan, Peter Hujar, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Richard Misrach, Nicholas Nixon, Alec Soth, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Many of the works in How I Learned to See convey a strong emotional tone through the portrayal of character and setting. As a preface, the exhibition begins with an early work by Peter Hujar, Girl Throwing Ball, Southbury (I), 1957, which depicts a girl playing in a field at a state facility for adults with intellectual disabilities.

The first chapter, on loneliness, features The Backwards Man in his hotel room, N.Y.C. 1961 by Diane Arbus; a photograph of a desolate motel at night by Alec Soth; Robert Adams’s picture of a solitary figure in a suburban home; a Nicholas Nixon photograph of an AIDS patient; and an affecting recent portrait by Katy Grannan.

The second section of How I Learned to See explores love, including couples by Arbus; erotic works by Nan Goldin; Elisheva Biernoff’s painting based on a found photograph; and two pictures from Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s Lucybelle Crater series (1970-72), showing pairs posing contentedly in humorous and disfiguring masks.

Chapter 3, on aging, begins with a photograph by Arbus of a former beauty, heavily made up while smoking in bed (Brenda Diana Duff Frazier, 1938 Debutante of the Year, at home, Boston, Mass. 1966). Another highlight of this section is a group of eight works from Nixon’s series The Brown Sisters, for which he has photographed his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters annually over the course of 41 years.

The following section explores solitude through works by Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, and Arbus, as well as Adams’ celebrated photograph of an illuminated gas station at night (Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, 1969).

Beauty is the theme of the Chapter 5, for which the curator has selected two seldom seen portraits by Hujar from the late 1950s; Callahan’s iconic portrait of his wife in the water, with her eyes closed and hair floating on the surface (Eleanor, Chicago, 1949); and a luminous work by Goldin (Pawel on the beach laughing, Positano, 1996).

The exhibition concludes with a section on discovery, continuing the thematic thread of learning about the world through pictures. The final chapter features work that suggests the position of an outsider coming upon an unfamiliar subject and milieu, including Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Mandrill, 1980, from his Diorama series; Soth’s photograph of a single light bulb hanging above a mysterious clearing in the trees; as well as a pair of pictures by Richard Misrach, shot in Hawaii at night, in which a harsh flash captures the odd tangle of vegetation against the shadowy background of a dense tropical forest.

How I Learned to See: An (Ongoing) Education in Pictures
Curated by Hanya Yanagihara
Exhibition Dates: June 30 – August 20, 2016

Fraenkel Gallery
49 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Lori Vrba At SE Center for Photography Greenville

Lori Vrba: Portal
Lori Vrba: Portal

“Portal” is about entering a world that is exotic, mystical, spiritual and maybe even a little bit dangerous. There is a passage from Thomas Wolfe’s book, Look Homeward Angel, that has been in the forefront of my mind as I’ve been working on this series. “…a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. Naked and alone we came into exile.” As I’ve gone deeper into the work, I’ve realized that the portal could also lead inward…to an internal place of essence, magic, grace and fortitude.

Lori Vrba: Portal
Exhibition Dates: June 03 – August 25, 2016

SE Center for Photography
1239 Pendleton St
Greenville, South Carolina


Wolfgang Tillmans, The State We’re In, A, 2015
Wolfgang Tillmans, The State We’re In, A, 2015

Featuring new and previously unseen work, the show will focus on the visible and invisible borders that define and sometimes control us.

Central to the downstairs gallery will be a large unframed print of The State We’re In, A (2015) that documents the open water of the Atlantic Ocean where international time lines and borders intersect. This will be displayed alongside imagery made at the Northern and Southern European Observatories that look beyond our national boundaries. Also on show will be photographs that study the visual effects of the Sun’s light entering our planet’s atmosphere and an image of human blood flowing through plastic tubes, contained outside of the body during surgery.

A new grouping of tables that follow on from his truth study center series (2005 – ongoing) will be installed in the upstairs gallery. I refuse to be your enemy 2, (2016) enacts another use of this display format by presenting various sizes of blank office paper from Europe and North America. Inspired by a workshop he gave to students in Iran last year this work examines the similarities in our nationalized forms of printed communication and how these formats can unite rather than divide us.

Exhibition Dates: June 9 – July 31 2016

21 Herald Street
London E2 6JT

The Presence of Light At The Taos Town Hall

The Presence of Light
The Presence of Light

Guest Curator Pattie Traynor invited photographers who reflect an expansive approach to the medium’s process and technology. Steve Bundy and Steve Immel moved from “wet” film to digital including photoshop applications while Doug Yeager and Meredith Mason Garcia are engaged with process, sepia tones or composition in the ‘traditional’ darkroom. A wide range of professional experiences and influences includes mentorship with John Sexton for David Farmer and his creation of large format archival prints to self-taught, fully framed compositions in the camera by Debbie Lujan for the serenity her Pueblo home. Each photographer presents images that share their unique connection to subjects, moments in time and places. Lenny Foster describes these as “sacred moments”. For Nat Troy the work provides a context for missions across the provinces of Zharey and Maiwand in Afghanistan. Pattie Traynor’s images create a altar of cultural experiences with people and places in Africa, Vietnam, Cuba and South America. Robbie Steinbach shares color images from travels across the West in an Airstream trailer while Jayni Shuman a recent arrival to Taos shares her responses to the scenic beauty, good people and great live music scene in the area.

The Presence of Light
Steve Bundy, Katharine Egli, David Farmer, Lenny Foster, Meredith Mason Garcia, Steve Immel, Debbie Lujan, Jayni Shuman, Heather Sparrow, Robbie Steinbach, Pattie Traynor, Nat Troy and Doug Yeager.
Exhibition Dates: June 3 – August 5, 2016
Opening Reception: June 3, 2016 from 5 – 7pm

Taos Town Hall