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In Living Color

MAM surveys ‘75 Years of Color Photography’

Feb. 11, 2013
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Color pictures are posted on the Internet, social media and even on the ubiquitous cell phone. The 21st century documents every moment in living color, but how and when did this phenomenon begin? The Milwaukee Art Museum presents a chronological perspective on the momentous impact of color photography with its exhibition “Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America.”

“Color Rush” features prints from 1907-1981. While many fine artists at first rejected the new technology of color, magazines eventually embraced the process. Vogue’s first color cover photo was taken by Edward Steichen in 1932. Eventually, the film industry followed, illustrated by the classic 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. On film, Dorothy literally moves through her journey from a black-and-white Kansas into the full-color Land of Oz.

Although famous Depression-era photographers were discouraged from printing anything in color because it was not thought dignified enough for serious social issues and fine art, color flourished in commercial applications. After World War II, Kodak’s mass-produced film (Kodachrome) consumed the American public, which could now document everyday life with color slide shows.

“Color Rush” encompasses more than 140 color images from fine art and commercial photography and features prints by artists Ansel Adams, Anton Bruehl, William Eggleston, Barbara Kasten and the Milwaukee-based Steichen. According to the exhibit’s co-curator, Lisa Hostetler, “There was a time when color photography was new and strange, and now it’s taken for granted. We can learn to see it as art.”

“Color Rush” will be displayed Feb. 22–May 19 in the Baker/Rowland Gallery. The exhibit opens with a gallery talk by Art Institute of Chicago curator Katherine Bussard at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. For further information, visit mam.org. 



Art Happening

“heArtbreakers Ball”

Dominion Gallery

804 E. Wright St.

Held the day after Valentine’s Day (Friday, Feb. 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m.), this free gala is the perfect anecdote to the commercialized holiday. Featured artist Andrea Martinez presents a series of acrylics titled “Provocative Women,” Riverwest favorite Harvey Taylor contributes the photo series “Til Death Do Us Art” and Milwaukee demigod Kevin Lynch offers woodcuts and sculpture. Refreshments and cash bar provided.


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