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Release Date: April 3, 2012

"The Theater of the Street" Explored Through Photographs by Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and More at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, April 22–August 5, 2012

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art plans a dynamic array of programs to celebrate I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938–2010, an exhibition of nearly 90 works that examines the genre of street photography through the work of Harry Callahan, Bruce Davidson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Beat Streuli, on view in the West Building from April 22 through August 5, 2012.

All programs are free of charge and take place in the East Building Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Digital Brochure and Online Resource

An electronic brochure will be available on the exhibition website, illustrating 24 photographs by Harry Callahan, Bruce Davidson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Walker Evans, and Robert Frank. Excerpts from a video and a digital still sequence by Beat Streuli will also be featured, as well as audio clips of interviews with some of the artists.

Film Programs

American Originals Now: Ernie Gehr
The ongoing project American Originals Now offers an opportunity for discussion with established independent filmmakers and a chance to share in their art. This two-part retrospective devoted to highlights from the work of Ernie Gehr (born 1943)—one of the most prolific of the generation of American filmmakers who first challenged the notion that the cinema must correspond to visual reality—includes post-screening discussions with the artist. Gehr's concern for film's formal attributes, which can produce beautiful and startling effects, parallels the interests of minimalist art. "Even as film goes the way of all flesh and is supplanted by digital, Gehr's work affirms the persistence of cinema"—Manohla Dargis.

Perspectives on the Street
Saturday, May 12, 2:30 p.m.
Ernie Gehr in person
This program of three short films, shown in conjunction with the photography exhibition I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938–2010, includes one of Gehr's most widely known works, Side/Walk/Shuttle (1991, 16 mm), a rhythmic and disorienting study of San Francisco's built environment; This Side of Paradise (1991, 16 mm), a meditation on an impromptu Polish flea market set up in Berlin just before the Wall came down; and Essex Street Market, remnants of a lost public place in lower Manhattan (2004, silent video, 29 minutes). (Total running time approximately 83 minutes)

Visiting Video Shadows
Sunday, May 13, 4:30 p.m.
Ernie Gehr in person
Gehr's change of focus from 16 mm film to digital formats in 2004 brought him new ways of interpreting light, the very subject of his life's work. The short silent piece Shadow (2007) is the first in a program of poetic recent short videos, many of which allude to early cinema and the technologies and techniques employed then: magic lanterns, hand-tinted images, and "trick" films. Other works in the program include Thank You for Visiting (2010, 12 minutes), Auto-Collider XIII (2011, 13 minutes), and ABRACADABRA (2009, silent). (Total running time approximately 63 minutes)

American Originals Now: Mark Street

Hidden in Plain Sight and Other Shorts
Saturday, July 21, 2:30 p.m.
Mark Street in person
This program shows short films utilizing public city streets as stages, backdrops, and sites where culture is produced. Hidden in Plain Sight (2008) is inspired by the tradition of cinematic city symphonies and is made up of footage shot in Santiago de Chile; Hanoi, Vietnam; Dakar, Senegal; and Marseille, France. Other titles include the experimental 16 mm film Sweep (1998) and Happy? (2000), a hybrid of documentary and anthropological film, part time capsule and part taped performance piece. (Total running time approximately 90 minutes)

Hasta Nunca/See You Never preceded by Buenos Aires Balcony
Saturday, July 21, 4:30 p.m.
Mark Street in person
Screening as a work in progress, Hasta Nunca reveals the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, as an integral character to the film's central story. Middle-aged DJ Mario Ligetti produces an underground call-in radio show called "Secrets and Stories." Callers' voices provide an acoustic counterpoint for an observational investigation of this ramshackle port city that retains the architectural vestiges of its colonial past (77 minutes, 2012). Preceded by Buenos Aires Balcony, an outsider's meditation on the capital (25 minutes, 2011).

On the Bowery
Sunday, July 22, 4:30 p.m.
Lionel Rogosin's cinema-verité film creates muted poetry in a quasi-documentary portrait of dreary East Village pubs in the mid 1950s. The film, accompanied by several shorts, is shown in association with I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938–2010.

Gallery Talks

I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938-2010
May 17–20, 23, 24; June 14, 15, 20–22, noon
Adam Davies
West Building Main Floor, Rotunda
60 mins.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Exhibition Press Release

Checklist (PDF 420 kb)

Related Activities

Audio: Press Event