After Walker Evans

August 30 – October 25, 2014

Curated by Rachel Cook

Adam Schreiber, Untitled, 2014. Negative silver print.

Sterling Allen
Julia Brown
Cassandra Emswiler Burd
Carrie Cook
Jamal Cyrus 
Lauren Moya Ford
Anna Elise Johnson
Rosine Kouamen 
Adam Schreiber
J. Parker Valentine

In 1935 Walker Evans was commissioned to produce a portfolio of African objects from the exhibition African Negro Art (1935) at MoMA. Evans’ photographs were taken in order to present the objects as works of art connected to the Western art historical tradition rather than ethnographic objects. Evans’ “documents” examined the physical form of each object, sometimes shooting from more than one angle. The isolation of each of the individual forms, without any neighboring or background context, created a framework that stripped any geographic or anthropological underpinnings to reveal a Modernist and possibly
formalist ideology. 

Given the recent surge of curatorial work and writing surrounding the photographic image and its relationship to the sculptural object, After Walker Evans thinks through the relationship between images and objects in order to present a set of ideas for how we might talk, think, and consider these distinct and hybrid mediums of photography and sculpture in relation to historical and ideological narratives. Additionally the exhibition will explore themes of how the photograph can act as a flattened object and a phenomenological spatial intervention, as well as how artists reconsider the hybridized object as both prop and sculptural device.

The Evans images act as a catalyst for considering how cultural tropes and the notion of an authentic cultural experience is re-imaged, re-contextualized, and re-purposed. If we consider the photograph as a three-dimensional form and not as the product of a recording device, which the medium is more known for historically, then the image no longer has simply an indexical relationship to the object, but can also embody the form itself. The photographic image becomes a mediated way to look at both objects and the spaces they occupy. The photograph can both represent an individual thing, as well as be a symbol--an ambiguous relationship that creates a paradoxical bond between the image
and the object.

-Rachel Cook, Associate Curator, DiverseWorks, Houston