NGA to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Photo Collection
Three special exhibitions in 2015 will mark the 25th anniversary of the National Gallery of Art’s photography collection. Two will open May 3: “In Light of the Past: 25 Years of Photography at the National Gallery of Art” (through July 26) and “The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund” (through Sept. 7).
The third, which will open Nov. 1 and run through Feb. 28, 2016, is titled “Celebrating Photography at the National Gallery of Art: Recent Gifts.” Displaying works donated to the museum in honor of the anniversary, it is likely to include gifts that have yet to be made.
Though the collection was launched in 1949 with a spectacular gift – Georgia O’Keeffe’s donation of the “Key Set,” more than 1,600 photographs by her late husband, legendary photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz - the National Gallery began to actively collect photography in 1990.
The collection has expanded under curator Sarah Greenough to nearly 14,000 American and European photographs from 1839 to the present. Photographs are fragile and deteriorate when exposed to light. Most of the collection has never been exhibited and the works that have been exhibited have been on view only briefly.
Curated by Greenough and assistant curator Andrea Nelson, the exhibition of contemporary photographs will include works exploring the complexity of time, memory and history, by photographers including Sally Mann (b. 1951), Vera Lutter (b. 1960), Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948), Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) and Sophie Calle (b. 1953).