There are currently three exhibitions at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Each exhibition brings its own unique aspect: from choosing how we want the world to perceive us, beautiful prints and lithographs, and capturing the result of a collapsing economy.
Identity is a collection of sketches, photographs, and prints. Most of the photographs in the exhibition are of celebrities who maintain a persona and want to be perceived in a certain manner by the public. My favorite photograph from the exhibition was Gloria Swanson, 1924 by Edward Steichen. In it, the 1920s film star Gloria Swanson is framed behind a black lace veil with alluring and captivating eyes fixated on the viewer—quite simply a beautiful photograph. The 99%—Highland Hills is a collection of sketches by Sedrick Huckaby of his neighbors in the Highland Hills area of Fort Worth (just south of I-20 and west of I-35). Made to represent the 99% of society, Huckaby’s sketches, of varying sizes, include a quote from each of his neighbors. The quotes are random, but give you an insight into the person’s personality; or, perhaps, of how they wish to be perceived.
Louise Nevelson: Prints is at the main entrance hallway of the museum. For me, lithographs and prints, of the abstract variety, have always seemed a bit underwhelming. It’s really hard for me to find enjoyment in random shapes, patterns, and colors that most people could probably do on the weekend with the right materials. However, I must say that, though she was traditionally a sculptor, Nevelson did a really good job of blending the right color combinations with interesting textures. Maybe, I just really liked the lithographs she created because the colors work so well together? Grays, blacks, and bold red blend together beautifully, and the texture really pops out in the light gray areas of the lithographs giving the appearance of gray flannel. The lithographs were all created from 1963-1967 at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. Upon doing some quick research on Nevelson, I was unaware that she created the matte black sculpture Lunar Landscape (1959-1960) that’s part of the Amon Carter’s permanent collection.
Discarded: Photographs by Anthony Hernandez features giant photos from the Los Angeles native photographer who began his career forty years ago photographing people on the streets of L.A. Hernandez, who now lives in Idaho with his wife, became interested in the areas that are the subject of this exhibition, mainly east and northeast of Los Angeles County, while out traveling. Between 2012 and 2015 Hernandez began photographing the desert landscape of doomed housing divisions and abandoned lots that are the result of an unstable economy. The photographs are huge and are fun to explore reminding me of a past 2013 exhibition: Big Pictures. Though, the title “Discarded” and the exhibition itself is perhaps meant to shed some light on how American culture can seem wasteful and imprudent, I, honestly, did not take that away from this exhibition. Most of the houses that are photographed are at the beginning stages of being built; no doubt construction was halted once the economy took a turn for the worse. The houses, abandoned and appearing to be out in the middle of nowhere, even take on the appearance of something that has been dead for some time. The gray carcass of an animal whose bones have been picked clean by vultures or simply the remains of a living creature that have decayed with time and is now nothing more than a hollow shell. Hernandez does a great job of using natural light to capture the abandoned homes, bringing beauty to a dire situation. The Amon Carter plans on adding one of the photographs from the exhibition to the museum’s permanent collection. I hope it’s one of the photos taken from inside the abandoned homes, as I found those to be the most intriguing.
Identity runs through October 9, 2016, Louise Nevelson: Prints runs through July 31, 2016, and Discarded: Photographs by Anthony Hernandez runs through August 7, 2016. Be sure to catch these great exhibitions at the Amon Carter Museum and plan your day accordingly.