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The Amon Carter Museum Presents Photographer Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision

Barbara Crane

Barbara Crane (b. 1928), Tucson Desert, 1980. Courtesy of the Chicago Cultural Center © Barbara Crane, 1980.

From - The Amon Carter Museum presents today Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision, the first major retrospective in more than 25 years of the photographer’s work. This exhibition features nearly 200 photographs, from Crane’s internationally heralded early studies of human form through her chronicle of Chicago city life to her recent explorations of nature. The exhibition will be on view through May 10, 2009, before moving on to the organizer’s venue, the Chicago Cultural Center.

“Barbara Crane has long been one of America’s most influential teachers and respected artists,” says the Carter’s Senior Curator of Photographs John Rohrbach. “Her highly experimental and tremendously varied photographs animatedly challenge photography’s very character as a descriptive tool. This show exudes her infectious energy and imagination. Anyone who sees it will never look at photographs the same way again.”

For more than 60 years, Crane (b. 1928) has been stretching the boundaries of photography. Through single images, sequences, grids and scrolls that range in size from intimate to grand, her photographs are dynamic, bold and abstract; they are vibrant depictions of the rural and urban, the familiar and esoteric.

Crane herself has explained the sources of her art: “I’ve always been drawn to avant-garde, cutting edge art forms and have tried to find my inspiration in mediums other than photography,” she says. “As an art history student, I became interested in Asian art and was heavily influenced by Japanese scrolls, screens, prints and calligraphy. I was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s and Corbusier’s daring ‘modern’ architecture, by the innovative aesthetic of the German Bauhaus, by the custom-defying independence of modern dance, and by the music of John Cage.

“To this day, I carry a small spiral notebook when attending a concert or visiting a museum to record what I find exciting for my future use—such as the pattern of musical rhythms, the dynamic of color combinations and spatial relationships, and adjacencies of color in Renaissance and Medieval paintings. I translate these influences into the endless options offered by photography.”

Crane has been the recipient of many grants, awards and fellowships, including National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1975 and 1988, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Photography in 1979, and an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship Award in Photography in 2001. Her work is represented in major collections around the country, including the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Ariz.; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision is accompanied by a fully illustrated 250-page publication with essays by Abigail Foerstner, of the Medill School of Journalism Northwestern University, and Amon Carter Museum Senior Curator of Photographs John Rohrbach.

Organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, this exhibition was guest curated by Kenneth C. Burkhart.

Challenging Vision will be on display February 14, 2009 through May 10, 2009.

The Amon Carter Museum is located at 3501 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX. For more information call 817.738.1933.

Museum Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. | Thursday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. | Sunday: Noon–5 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Admission to the permanent collection is free.

Make a contribution to the Center to support special exhibitions, education programs for both children and adults, family activities, and the care of the museum’s collection of American art. There are many ways to contribute to the Center.

Follow the Amon Carter @the_carter.

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