The San Diego Museum of Art opens 'Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection'

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The San Diego Museum of Art opens 'Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection'
World #14 by Ruud van Empel © Ruud van Empel; courtesy of the artist

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The San Diego Museum of Art is presenting Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection, an exhibition featuring more than 100 works spanning major photographic movements that are diverse in subject, style and technique. Made possible by a loan from prolific collectors Cam and Wanda Garner, the exhibition includes works from many of the most influential photographers in the medium’s history. Originally installed in November 2020, but closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection is now open to the public November 20, 2021 through February 20, 2022.

The exhibition is grouped thematically into three sections. The first, Reflections on Nature, presents a variety of landscapes, including famed environmentalist Ansel Adams’s El Capitan, Sunrise Winter, Yosemite National Park, and organic aesthetics. Things as They Are analyzes subjects of the city, society and conflict with familiar examples from Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The final section, Manipulating Reality, looks at expressions of abstraction and allegory in the medium, from early 20th-century work by Frank Eugene to the modern cinematic dreamscapes of Gregory Crewdson.

Several of photography’s most recognized and distinguished figures are represented by their most iconic works. The artists mentioned above are just a small sampling of the long list of photographers whose work is represented in the exhibition, including Harry Callahan, Dorothea Lange, Ray Metzker, Aaron Siskind, Joel Meyerowitz, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Bruce Davidson, and Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.

“For more than a decade, the Garners have supported the Museum and the greater San Diego community, and have generously gifted over 600 works from their collection to the Museum and loaned many more,” said Roxana Velásquez, Maruja Baldwin Executive Director and CEO at The San Diego Museum of Art. “Cam Garner himself is an established photographer, and his reverence for the medium is reflected in the breadth of this collection as well as his dedication to sharing important works with the public.”

In 2020, the Garners donated over 300 works from photographic giants such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark, Berenice Abbott, Minor White, and Margaret Bourke-White. These important additions represent a significant expansion of the Museum’s holdings of photography. A number of works from this gift will be on view in the exhibition.

These exemplary works allow viewers to consider how a photograph is made, the multiple functions a photograph may serve, and the ultimate impact they make in our lives and memories.

Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection is organized by Cory Woodall, Assistant Curator at The San Diego Museum of Art.

The exhibition is also accompanied by a 134-page catalogue. With essays by Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Michael Mulno, curator of the Garner collection, the Masters of Photography: The Garner Collection catalogue provides further insights into the major movements and iconic practitioners of photography from the 20th century to the present day.

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