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Announcement
February 15, 2022

Time and Face: Daguerreotypes to Digital Prints

Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University

Martin M. Lawrence, James Watson Webb, 1850–51. Mammoth-plate daguerreotype. Courtesy Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Chandler Chemical Museum Collection.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1882–85. Woodburytype print. Courtesy Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Chandler Chemical Museum Collection.

Twelve Portraits of Women and Men, ca. 1862. Albumen print cartes de visite mounted on board. Courtesy Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Chandler Chemical Museum Collection.

John Pinderhughes, Irene Johnson, from the series "Harlem Portraits," 2014. Archival pigment print. Courtesy Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, gift of the artist.

Fame and Photography: An online conversation: February 23, 6:30–7:30pm. Scholar Sharon Marcus and curator Roberto C. Ferrari explore the phenomena of celebrity and the role of photography in the construction of fame.

The Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts is pleased to present Time and Face: Daguerreotypes to Digital Prints. This exhibition is drawn exclusively from the Collection of Art Properties at Columbia University and includes photographs produced using most photomechanical processes in American and European history. Arranged in four thematic sections—time and technology, face, innocence, and fame—the exhibition presents formal portraits alongside figurative subjects in photojournalism and documentary formats, with over 100 examples of works dating from the origins of photography in the 1840s to today.

Time and Face: Daguerreotypes to Digital Prints is curated by Roberto C. Ferrari, the Curator of Art Properties at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Ferrari notes: “Columbia was one of the first institutions to collect photographs for research and study, and we continue to this day to build on that legacy. We regularly receive gifts of art from alumni and other donors, and we seek to proactively collect work that emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in support of our educational mission. This exhibition will be the first large-scale effort to showcase a selection of photography from this remarkable, yet unknown, collection.”

Works on view include photographic portraits ranging from nineteenth-century daguerreotypes and other cased works, to early paper-based works such as albumen print cartes de visite, to twentieth-century gelatin silver prints and chrome prints, to contemporary archival pigment prints. Among the highlights are Martin M. Lawrence’s mammoth-plate daguerreotype of New York City newspaper publisher and politician James Watson Webb, which won an award at the Great Exhibition of 1851; a recently-conserved woodburytype print of the Fisk Jubilee Singers from the mid-1880s; vintage studio portraits by the Arkansas-based photographer Mike Disfarmer; and contemporary work such as John Pinderhughes’s portrait of Mrs. Irene Johnson from his Harlem Portraits series. The exhibition also includes photographs by twentieth-century artists Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Helen Levitt, Arthur Rothstein, and Andy Warhol, and by contemporary artists Tina Barney, Larry Fink, Danny Lyon, and Shirin Neshat, among others.

Time and Face: Daguerreotypes to Digital Prints coincides with the presentation of What Is the Use of Buddhist Art? and Object Relations: Indigenous Belongings. Collectively these exhibitions present more than 150 works of art and cultural heritage objects from Columbia’s Collection of Art Properties. Most on view to the public for the first time, they are a fraction of more than 13,000 objects in the holdings of the collection housed at the Avery Architectural & Fine Art Library. This wide-ranging collection, built over two centuries, has been acquired principally through donations from alumni and faculty, and includes antiquities, cultural heritage objects, and numerous examples of works of art through the twenty-first century. The mission of the collection is to support educational programs, curricular integration, research, and study.

The Wallach presents an array of online content–including a virtual tour, artist interviews, and virtual public programming. The gallery is open to the general public Wednesdays through Saturdays. Online reservations are recommended. For more information on the exhibition, including gallery hours and visit registration links, visit our website. To register for the Wednesday, February 23 online program, register here. All exhibitions are open to the public, and provided free of charge.

Time and Face: Daguerreotypes to Digital Prints is supported by Robert Shlaer and M. Susan Barger.

The Wallach Art Gallery's exhibition programs are made possible with support from the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Endowment Fund, the Charina Endowment Fund, and the gallery's patrons.

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