Two new exhibitions open May 11 at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art: Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham and Dancing with Charlie: Bay Area Art from the Campbell Collection.
Consistently probing the medium of photography for new artistic expression, Cunninghan’s career spanned some 70 years, much of it in the Bay Area. She moved to San Francisco in 1915 and taught at Mills College in Oakland, and later at the California School of Fine Arts.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s she made images that symbolically reflected the restlessness of the times, politically and socially. Her work was dynamic, dramatic, experimental. And influential. Cunningham is a pivotal figure in establishing photography as an art form, says Linda Keaton, SVMA executive director. “This exhibition looks at the career of a female artist who was working during a critical era of modern art and photography.”
This is the first exhibition of this artist’s photographs to tour the U.S. in 20 years, and includes family photographs, portraiture, abstract still lifes, and later work including street portraits from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and Paris.
The exhibition Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham is presented with the Imogen Cunningham Trust in association with Photographic Traveling Exhibitions
The opening reception will be Saturday, May 14, 6-7:30 p.m. The event is free for SVMA members, and $10 for non-members. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend this event.
On Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. SVMA will host Susan M. Anderson for a Curator’s Talk. Event is $10 for SVMA members, and $15 for non-members. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend this event.
The concurrent show is Dancing with Charlie: Bay Area Art from the Campbell Collection. Campbell was a San Francisco gallery owner who represented major Bay Area contemporary artists for more than 60 years.
His love of jazz and life in San Francisco’s North Beach connected him to the vibrant bohemian art and culture of the 1950s and 60s. Featured in his collection are works by friends such as Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown, Elmer Bischoff, Wayne Thiebaud, and other significant Bay Area artists.
“Campbell was well-known for his eye for enduring talent and commitment to living artists, some of whom he helped push to the forefront of Bay Area art in the period after World War II,” explains Susan M. Anderson, Guest Curator. “A study of the Campbell Collection’s development reveals a confidently intrepid character, one who was warm and witty, and who helped to extend the limits of Bay Area art.”
Both shows run through August 11.
The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located at 551 Broadway, one half block up from Sonoma’s historic Plaza. Current Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. General admission is $10 and free for SVMA members; additional information is available at svma.org or 707.939.7862. Wednesdays are always free.