The ‘Art of Illusion,’ Michael Kenna’s lost and found landscapes, & four other photo shows worth viewing right now
Six excellent photography shows taking place in the US in March and April 2022.
Humans have created artistic renderings of their natural surroundings for thousands of years. And as a photographic genre, “the landscape” goes back to the earliest days of the medium. Today, there are many individuals working in the landscape tradition, like Michael Kenna, a photographer celebrated for his stunning black-and-white images. He currently has a show at Robert Mann Gallery featuring photographs made in the 1980s during a series of visits to his childhood home in Northern England.
Of course, the notion of the landscape doesn’t always have to be taken literally. A current exhibit in New York City titled, “Storming of the Capitol,” captures the political landscape of the United States on January 6, 2021.
Check out these as well as other must-see fine-art photography exhibitions below:
Michael Kenna: Northern England, 1983-1986
Michael Kenna shot the photos for this exhibit more than forty years ago, during a series of trips made to locations significant to his childhood. But he only recently rediscovered the negatives, which had been lost in his archive for decades. The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown provided him the downtime needed to revisit these shots and make prints for this show.
According to the curators, Kenna was influenced by many photographers of the past to create this work, particularly Bill Brandt and Eugene Atget. Kenna relied on long exposure photography for a number of the shots and experimented with different printing techniques to “capture the mystery and atmosphere” of each desolate monochrome scene.
Where: Robert Mann Gallery in New York
When: February 3 to March 25, 2022
For more info on the exhibition, go to the gallery’s website at Robertmann.com/upcoming
Storming of the Capitol
“Storming of the Capitol,” on display as the Bronx Documentary Center in New York, includes photos, videos, and multimedia captured on January 6, 2021, by a range of photographers and journalists present that day. In fact, the work of more than 25 artists is represented in this show, including photographs by photojournalism heavy-hitters like Ashley Gilbertson and Ron Haviv. The images in this show may be difficult to look at, but they tell the important story of a political landscape divided.
Where: Bronx Documentary Center in New York
When: Jan. 29 – March 20, 2022
For more info on the exhibition, go to the center’s website at Bronxdoc.org
Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum
This exhibition presents 90 photographic works by female artists from the last 100 years and begins with the acknowledgment that the history of feminism and photography are intertwined.
There are many parts of the show that sound intriguing: For instance, the exhibit will include a small but powerful monochromatic series, Details (1996), by Lorna Simpson. This portfolio of 21 photographs explores the African American female experience, focusing on topics including identity, representation, and history. What’s also fascinating about this series is it includes a mix of found, original, and archival images.
Another must-see part of the show is the opening section, which has a wall of portraits/self-portraits depicting female artists, including historically-significant photographers like Lola Álvarez Bravo, Gertrud Arndt, Lotte Jacobi, and Lucia Moholy, as well as contemporary up-and-comers.
Where: Museum of Modern Art, New York
When: April 16 — October 2, 2022
For more info on the exhibition, go to the museum’s website at Moma.org
What the Eyes Can’t See: Astrophotography by Eugene Cambre
Astrophotographer Eugene Cambre has been capturing photographs of the night sky for more than 50 years. And his first exhibition—at the Besser Museum, in Michigan—is a showcase of some of his most stunning work. These images beautifully juxtapose worldly structures against dramatic star-filled skies, creating colorful scenes ordinarily invisible to the naked eye.
Where: Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, Alpena, Michigan
When: January 29 – April 19
For more info on the exhibition, go to the museum’s website at bessermuseum.org
Alan Karchmer: The Architects’ Photographer
This show focuses on the work of architecture photographer Alan Karchmer. Celebrated for his ability to convey “the architect’s ideas and intention” in his images, Karchmer made a career photographing some of the world’s most famous buildings. He earned a master’s in the field of architecture before becoming a photographer, which might explain why he’s so darn good at capturing “the essence of a building.”
The show includes a mix of professional shots, personal images, and artifacts, all to help tell the story of his career. It also explores how advancements in camera technology, specifically the development of digital cameras, influenced the field of architecture photography.
Where: National Building Museum in Washington DC
When: April 9, 2021–June 5, 2022
For more info on the exhibition, go to the museum’s website at nbm.org.
Art of Illusion: Photography and Perceptual Play
“Art of Illusion: Photography and Perceptual Play” presents the question: Is seeing really believing? Featuring the work of 25 artists, this show includes images that challenge the viewer’s sense of reality and perception. Notably, the majority of these images were made without darkroom or digital manipulation. The photographers instead rely on in-camera techniques and conceptual approaches to warp reality.
The show pulls from the museum’s private collection and includes quite a few recent acquisitions, on view for the first time.
Where: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
When: October 22, 2021– April 25, 2022
For more info on the exhibition, go to the museum’s website at nelson-atkins.org