Select past exhibitions

CATE has toured more than 400 exhibitions to over 850 art venues worldwide. Below is a selection of highlights.


ACCOMMODATIONS OF DESIRE: SURREALIST WORKS ON PAPER COLLECTED BY JULIEN LEVY

Dream, metaphor, fetishism, nonsense, and play were among the defining characteristics Julien Levy (1906–1981) ascribed to Surrealism; they are also, fittingly, among the marvels of this exhibition, based on Levy’s collection of Surrealist art. Levy was one of Modernism’s pre-eminent art dealers, operating from his eponymous gallery in New York City. Mentored by the great American dealer and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, Levy opened his gallery to showcase a Surrealist approach to photography.


ACTION/PERFORMANCE AND THE PHOTOGRAPH

The Happenings of the 1950s began a movement of staged activities in art in which the photograph played an integral role. Performance and conceptual artists in the 1960s and 1970s often orchestrated events specifically for the camera, event as art intended to occur only once at a given moment in time. The resulting images then became documentary records of the events, and in some cases, art objects in themselves. Curated by Craig Krull, Action/Performance and the Photograph is an ambitious attempt to follow the evolving role of the photograph in these movements.


AFROCUBA: WORKS ON PAPER, 1968-2003

AFROCUBA: Works on Paper, 1968-2003 is a groundbreaking exhibition of fifty-six prints and drawings by twenty-six artists from Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The artists in this exhibition represent a cross section of Cuban society, and their works exhibit a diverse range of subject matter, styles, and techniques, including lithographs, collographs, woodcuts, screen prints, and ink and crayon drawings. Organized thematically and following a loose chronological order, this exhibition is the first to focus on AfroCuban artists and themes through a historical-thematic lens—and the first time this work has been grouped together in a major exhibition outside of Cuba.


ALMOST ALICE: NEW ILUSTRATIONS OF WONDERLAND
BY MAGGIE TAYLOR


In recent years Maggie Taylor has emerged as one of the most accomplished and innovative masters of digital imaging processes. Taylor’s composite images give fresh insight as a new set of illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Using sources ranging from snapshots to 19th-century daguerreotypes and tintypes, she constructs fantastic, surreal narratives. Although richly colored and dream-like in appearance, her use of photographic sources and digital manipulation retains a sense of the original photographic veracity, thus adding to the images’ surreal power.


ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ: ON READING

Henri Cartier-Bresson once said of himself, Robert Capa, and Brassaï, that, “Whatever we have done, Kertész did first.” He was referring to the legendary Hungarian photographer André Kertész, a prominent member of Cartier-Bresson’s circle in 1920s Paris. Kertész’s influence continued well into the 1970s, affecting another generation that included Lisette Model, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Fiedlander, among many others.


ANSEL ADAMS AND EDWIN LAND: ART, SCIENCE, AND INVENTION
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE POLAROID COLLECTION


American photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984) possessed a unique sensitivity to the power of light. This gift allowed him to reveal both the delicate details and the vast beauty of the natural environment. He is widely recognized for the superb aesthetic and technical qualities of his photographs and for the central role he played in the acceptance of photography as fine art. Edwin H. Land, Adams’ contemporary, was a brilliant young scientist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who pioneered the invention of instant film and cameras in the late 1940s.


ANTHONY HERNANDEZ: LANDSCAPES FOR THE HOMELESS

"Homelessness," writes photographer Lewis Baltz in his introduction to Landscapes for the Homeless, "as a contemporary, industrial-scale phenomenon probably began in California in the late sixties when Governor Ronald Reagan closed the state mental institutions and turned the mad loose on the streets (a condition Baudrillard likened to the breaking of a Seal of the Apocalypse). Not really the dangerously mad, just the weak, the helpless, and the incompetent. Even the word homeless, as a noun, is recent."


BOTH ART AND LIFE: GEMINI G.E.L. AT 25

In the years since its founding in 1966, Gemini G.E.L. has established itself as one of the most highly regarded and influential printmaking workshops in the country. The Gemini G.E.L. studio in Los Angeles has been at the center of the printmaking renaissance that began in the mid-60s, providing an atmosphere of profound creative and experimental freedom that has led to brilliant collaborations between master printers and prominent artists, and to the development of many new printmaking technologies. Both Life and Art takes its title from Robert Rauschenberg's well-known statement that he operates in the gap between art and life.


BRETT WESTON IN NEW YORK

As the second son of Edward Weston, it was predictable that Brett Weston (1911–1993) would become an accomplished photographer after he was removed from school at the age of twelve and taken to live with his father and Tina Modotii in Mexico. At his father’s side, he began making photographs that astonished audiences when they were first exhibited in the 1920s. By the time he was a teenager, he was producing work that rivaled that of his father, and it was assumed that his photographic career would be equally stellar.


CUBA AVANT-GARDE: CONTEMPORARY CUBAN ART FROM THE FARBER COLLECTION

Over the past three decades, the art of Cuba has had a remarkable impact on emerging global contemporary art. Drawing on a variety of experimental, conceptual, and postmodern strategies, contemporary Cuban artists have challenged accepted artistic and political discourse not only in their own society but in the international arena, reversing conventional art-world notions of “center” and “periphery” and embodying a provocative, ironic, and omnivorously critical approach.


CZECH AVANT-GARDE: REFLECTIONS ON EUROPEAN ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN BOOK DESIGN, 1922–1938

Czechoslovakia’s 1989 Velvet Revolution brought an end to four decades of Communist rule, attracting a flood of tourists from around the world—7 million in 1996—and sparking renewed interest in the country’s rich cultural heritage. Closer to Paris than to Moscow, the city of Prague and the people of the Czech lands share Western religious and cultural traditions. That tradition was first broken by Nazi domination in 1938, and then by the imposition of Communist rule in 1948.


DALI’S MUSTACHE: A PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERVIEW BY SALVADOR DALI AND PHILIPPE HALSMAN

In 1954, world-renowned Surrealist painter Salvador Dali (1904–1989) and Philippe Halsman (1906–1979), one of the leading portrait photographers of his time, published Dali’s Mustache, a witty and often absurd verbal and photographic exchange between two friends. A scarce cult classic since its original publication, the book was recently reprinted by Flammarion in Paris. The exhibition, which includes 32 works, demonstrates the inventiveness and humor that made Halsman one of the most successful celebrity photographers during and after the Second World War. Halsman photographed 101 Life magazine covers—more than any other photographer—and was regularly published in the world’s most popular magazines.


DEAR MR. RIPLEY: TREASURES FROM THE BELIEVE IT OR NOT! ARCHIVE

As the leading chronicler of the odd, Robert Ripley, born in Santa Rosa, California in 1893, became a world-renowned personality. The Believe it or Not! phenomenon took hold of the popular imagination between the World Wars and continues to fascinate to this day. There has yet to be an examination of the documentation that Ripley required from those claiming to be bizarre and unique, and this exhibition fills that void. In 1913, working as a sports cartoonist for the New York Globe, Robert Ripley decided to publish a selection of sports oddities he had collected. His editor persuaded him to change the title from Champs and Chumps to Believe it or Not.


ERNEST HEMINGWAY AND WALKER EVANS: THREE WEEKS IN CUBA, 1933

“I have some pictures tonight, and will have more tomorrow…”
—Walker Evans, from a handwritten note to Ernest Hemingway

These cryptic words, from Evans, the great American photographer, to Hemingway, the great American writer, are part of a mystery that is only now coming to light. A friendship between Evans and Hemingway began in Havana in May 1933. The three weeks they spent together in Cuba left a lasting imprint on both men.


EIKOH HOSOE: META

Widely regarded as Japan’s greatest living photographer, Eikoh Hosoe explores the strata of the human subconscious through a powerfully evocative use of visual metaphor. META, a retrospective exhibition spanning three decades, presents ten different chapters of Hosoe’s innovative work, charting his remarkable evolution as an artist whose iconoclastic images have consistently questioned the identity of the individual in Japanese society. Hosoe was 12 years old at the time of the savage destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, events that resulted in unprecedented destruction and the psychological upheaval of a nation.


EDWARD WESTON: LIFE WORK

Edward Weston: Life Work is a 99-image survey of this great American artist, containing an outstanding grouping of vintage prints from all phases of Weston’s five-decade career. Previously unpublished masterpieces are interspersed with well-known signature images. A striking 1909 outdoor Pictorialist study of his wife Flora is perhaps Weston's first nude. A 1907 landscape features a cow skull in the Mojave desert and presages by thirty years his later interest in death in the desert.


FAUNA: SPECIOUS ORGINS BY JOAN FONTCUBERTA AND PERE FORMIGUERA

Catalan artists Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera purport to have uncovered the archives of the brilliant, if obscure, German zoologist, Dr. Peter Ameisenhaufen. Between 1933 and 1950, Dr. Ameisenhaufen devoted himself to the study of little known hybrid creatures. His detailed scientific field observations are supported by extensive documentation, including photographs, journal notes, drawings, x-rays, audiotapes, and artifacts, all of which leave little doubt about the significance of the evidence presented. In argument to Darwin’s theories we see Micostrium Vulgaris, a swamp dwelling, clam-like creature with protruding seemingly human arms.


FORBIDDEN ART: THE POSTWAR RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE

From the horrific purges of the Stalin era to the time before glasnost when failure to conform could result in loss of employment or imprisonment, Soviet artists have had to struggle at great risk to maintain aesthetic and intellectual freedom. The sweeping cultural reforms presided over by Gorbachev brought an end to decades of censorship, and new intellectual freedoms allowed scholars in and outside of Russia to begin to trace the outlines of a broad category of artistic production known today as nonconformist art. Roughly bounded by the reforms following the death of Stalin in the mid-1950s and a landmark sale at Sotheby’s on July 7, 1988, this period encompasses a vast range of media, styles, and concerns.


FAIRFIELD PORTER: A LIFE IN ART, 1907—1975

Fairfield Porter, a 20th century painter who produced Intimist-inspired Realist works in the midst of the Abstract Expressionist movement, was hailed by John Ashbery in 1983 as “perhaps the major artist of this century." This exhibition, curated by the author of a seminal biography of Porter, which is being published simultaneously by Yale University Press, presents his paintings in the context of his life as an artist, art critic, poet, and political intellectual, as well as a husband, father, and friend. Of all American painters of the late-20th century, no one has created more significant images of family and home than Fairfield Porter.


HAUNTER OF RUINS: CLARENCE JOHN LAUGHLIN

The enigmatic photographer Clarence John Laughlin (1905–85), labeled a surrealist, romantic, modernist, postmodernist, and/or fantasist by successive commentators, is indeed famously difficult to categorize. Nearly two dozen distinct bodies of work exist among the more than 17,000 pictures he created between 1930 and 1965. Drawn from the collection of the Historic New Orleans Collection, Haunter of Ruins presents an eclectic selection of the decaying monuments and Southern landscapes that made the photographer famous, along with a number of mysterious still lifes, portraits, and cemetery views that reveal the photographer’s decidedly Gothic sensibility.


JAMES ROSENQUIST: TIME DUST

James Rosenquist: Time Dust, Complete Graphics 1962–1992 is the first comprehensive retrospective documenting the renowned Pop artist’s thirty-year career as one of America’s most innovative printmakers. Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the exhibition was curated by Constance W. Glenn, director of the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach and is being circulated by Curatorial Assistance, Los Angeles. Glenn’s 200-page, full-color monograph and catalogue raisonné, published by Rizzoli New York accompanies the exhibit.


JAZZ: WILLIAM CLAXTON

That jazz, like every form of music, is a visual art should be too obvious to require any reaffirmation. The sight of jazz, or more specifically of jazz performers, sometimes seems virtually inseparable from the sound of the music. Jazz historians have often pointed out, with obvious regret, that only one photograph exists of the near-legendary Buddy Bolden; or that precious little film footage exists on Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and too many other giants who in their day were underappreciated to the point where few photographers or sound-equipped motion picture cameramen took the trouble to preserve them for posterity.


JOE DEAL: URBAN WILDERNESS

For many outsiders, California has long been regarded as a land of opportunity, with its promise of easy prosperity, unlimited vistas and boundless sunshine. Fueled in no small part by this belief, the 1970s and 80s marked a period of unparalleled population growth and accelerated expansion throughout all of Southern California. During this time, with a keen eye for detail and a profound sense of irony, Joe Deal examined the life and culture of Southern California in a remarkable series of photographs. Deal photographed in locales ranging from rural California communities such as Soba Springs and Corona to the skyscrapers on Bunker Hill in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, recording evidence of a rapidly changing landscape.


LEAVING FOR THE COUNTRY: GEORGE BELLOWS AT WOODSTOCK

From 1920 to 1924, George Bellows (1882–1925) and his family spent a part of every year in Woodstock, New York, where he was inspired by the mountains, lakes, and fields surrounding the tiny village that was fast becoming a center for landscape artists. Bellows ventured out regularly to paint the local scenery, often doing sketches that he took back to New York with him in the winter to use as studies for finished paintings. Woodstock interiors appear as backdrops for well-known portraits of his family and friends. Photographs of the period show the Bellows family at the center of activities, including the annual bohemian Maverick Festival.


MAGNUM CINEMA: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 50 YEARS OF MOVIE MAKING

For half a century, the intrepid photographers better known by their collective nom de guerre, Magnum, have been, among other things, closely watching the world of cinema—not just on the screen, but on location, around sound stages, and inside dressing rooms, editing rooms, and dark theatres. Founded in 1947, Magnum is a cooperative of nearly sixty photographers, who have worked for virtually every major publication in the world. For the historic Magnum Cinema exhibition they have sorted through their vast private archives, selecting stacks and stacks of photographs, many of which have never before been published or exhibited publicly.


MAPPING THE WEST

Making a photograph with the wet-collodion process in the western wilderness was no simple task; photographers hauled darkroom equipment and glass for negatives by mule trains to the remote sites. Cumbersome tools and conditions insured that western photographers, recording the geological, industrial, ethnographic, and touristic wonders of the landscape during the years directly after the Civil War, worked not as solitary artists but as collaborative partners. A variety of patrons bankrolled their efforts and their visual products served many purposes, ranging widely from fine art objects to scientific document to entrepreneurial advertisement .


ROBERT DOISNEAU’S PARIS

As captured by Robert Doisneau, Paris at mid-century was a city filled with uninterrupted performance: a humanist theater, equal parts comedy and melodrama, tragedy and farce. One of France’s most respected and prolific reportage photographers, Doisneau (1912–1994) roamed the boulevards, streets, and banlieues (suburban fringes) of his beloved city, chronicling street life with his camera—an extension of his formidable wit. Doisneau’s photographs rendered a vision of human life as a series of fortuitous and droll juxtapositions, the staged and the real commingling as one.


REFLECTIONS IN A LOOKING GLASS: A CENTENARY LEWIS CARROLL EXHIBITION

As the creator of the classic children’s tale The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, known around the world for generations, Lewis Carroll has a permanent place in literary history. Less well-known today are his achievements as a prolific photographer, published mathematician and logician, game inventor, accomplished draftsman, and magazine editor, among other diverse pursuits. Carroll, the pseudonym of the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, led an exuberant creative life that spanned many subjects and artistic forms. For the first time, and with unprecedented depth, this exhibition assembles materials from across a range of media to illustrate the profundity of one man’s engagement with the world both imaginary and real.


REFLECTIONS IN BLACK: SMITHSONIAN AFRICAN AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY

This exhibition project presents photographs and photo media based art work produced by black photographers. During most of photography’s early history, images produced by African Americans were idealized glimpses of family members in romanticized or dramatic settings. Most of these early photographs commemorated a special occasion in the sitter’s life, such as courtship, marriage, birth, death, graduation, confirmation, military service, anniversaries, or some social or political success. Early photographers also depicted genre scenes and landscapes, and created elaborated backdrops for studio portraits.


ROBERT FRANK: THE AMERICANS

Without question, Robert Frank’s The Americans is one of the most influential series of photographs of the postwar era. Not since the book’s publication in the United States in 1959 has there been an opportunity to view these famous photographs in a museum setting in their original sequence. This exhibition is assembled from the last remaining complete set of prints from The Americans, acquired from the artist. The exhibition also includes original editions of the book (first published in France in 1958 as Les Americains), as well as other printed ephemera documenting the history and impact of the work from its creation in the mid-50s to the present.


RODCHENKO: MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY, PHOTOMONTAGE AND FILM

The experimentation of Alexander Rodchenko (1891—1956) stands as one of the most innovative efforts in establishing the visual language of modern art through photographic expression in the early 20th century. From Russia’s political October Revolution in 1917, Rodchenko sought to create a corresponding artistic landmark, believing that new ideologies demand new artistic forms for a modern culture. By late 1923, he began to abandon easel painting and sculpture, substituting the camera as the primary imager-making tool for the modern artist. For Rodchenko it enabled “contradiction of perspective, Contrasts in light. Contrasts of for... moments altogether new” for the visual arts.


THE SHAMANS: SPIRIT GUIDES OF SIBERIA

Since the Stone Age, shamans have been the conduits of spiritual power for peoples across Asia, Europe, and America. Shamans, who mediate between earth and the spirit world, have their earliest roots in Northern Siberia, an area considered to be the cradle of shamanism. During a special ritual called a kamlanie (“shaman act”), the shaman enters a state of ecstasy and crosses over into the spirit world. For many tribes, spiritual life centered—and, in many cases, continues to center—around this pivotal figure and this transformative act.


SOUTHWEST WEAVING: A CONTINUUM

The second in a series of exhibitions of Native American art from the San Diego Museum of Man, Southwest Weaving: A Continuum brings together works from the distinct yet interrelated weaving traditions of Southwestern Pueblo communities, Navajo groups, and New Mexican Hispanic villages. This watershed exhibition traces more than 140 years of dazzling creativity, demonstrating once again the extraordinary breadth and depth of the museum’s collection of Native American textiles. Due in large part to their rarity, some of the most striking artifacts in the exhibition come from the selection of Pueblo textiles.


TRACKS THROUGH THE ART OF ROBERT ADAMS

Robert Adams’s thinking about photography includes, but ranges far beyond, aesthetic considerations into the human consequences of environmental degradation, urban sprawl, and public land policy. He is interested in the core of man’s contact with nature and how art and religion have controlled this transaction. In order to follow these philosophical subtexts to Adams’s work, the exhibition is divided into conceptual blocks: Sunlight, Emptiness, Artifact, Solitude, Citizen, Home, Democracy, Wreckage, Flowering, Scintillae, and Civilization.


TRUE GRIT: SEVEN FEMALE VISIONARIES BEFORE FEMINISM

The paintings, sculptures and drawings that compose True Grit: Seven Female Visionaries Before Feminism were made between 1949 and 1976 by seven female artists, all of whom were making radical art before the term “feminism” had even entered the cultural lexicon. To this day, their individual works when seen outside of a group context exude a disciplined purity and aesthetic toughness; when viewed collectively, this compilation of work assumes a remarkable historical and cultural importance. Taken, with a degree of gleeful irony, from the title of a 1969 John Wayne movie, True Grit surveys the varied, independent oeuvres of these seven artists.


VASLAV NIJINSKY: GOD OF DANCE

Vaslav Nijinsky (1889–1950) was one of the most celebrated dancer-choreographers of the twentieth century. A legendary performer with Serge de Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and indisputably the greatest male dancer of his era, he choreographed four great ballets—including Debussy’s L’Après-midi d’un Faune and Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps—and worked closely with Cocteau, Ravel, and Bakst. As no film of Nijinsky’s performances exists, his genius as a dancer is known to the world only through personal accounts by those who saw him perform. Yet Nijinsky’s own words—a series of detailed diaries—provide the best window available onto the artist’s intense, creative spirit.


WALKER EVANS AND JAMES AGEE: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN

In August of 1936, two staffers from Fortune magazine, writer James Agee (1909–1955) and photographer Walker Evans (1903–1975), made arrangements to stay at the home of an “average white” sharecropper-family in Hale County, Alabama. For the next 21 days, they strove to produce a collaborative work aimed directly at the Great Depression’s social problems, while also pushing the limits of literature and photography.


YOUSUF KARSH: REGARDING HEROES

This exhibition celebrates the centenary of the birth of one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography. It may be said that, through his portraits, Karsh helped to create our collective visual memory of Winston Churchill, Marian Anderson, Albert Schweitzer, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, and many others.

 

 


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