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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ansel at the Boston MFA

What: Ansel Adams, prints from the Lane Collection

When: Until January 4th, 2006, seven days a week except for Christmas Day (hours vary)

Where: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; exhibition web page here

The scoop: An extensive and varied selection of Adams' work from throughout his career, including many less familiar items along with several Greatest Hits.

This show is a revelation, if perhaps not in quite the way intended. Your faithful correspondent was disappointed by the ultra-harsh gradation and murky shadows characteristic of too many of these prints—they were seriously not fun to look at. And Group ƒ/64 charter-member status doesn't exempt one from the physical reality that enlarging too far turns fine detail to mush.

Not everything is such a downer. A group of very early prints, including many from Adams' 1927 Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras portfolio, was unfamiliar and enlightening, and a scattered handful of contact prints from the '30s and '40s struck me as genuinely lovely. There's a decent print of Moonrise, Hernandez, as well as an authentic Hills Brothers Ansel Adams coffee can. An actual large format camera is on display, too—a very battered 8x10 Century Universal just like Ansel used (except, maybe, for the lens in late-model Copal 3 which adorns the front).

Be prepared to pay dearly for these pleasures: ticket, service charges, and parking for three and a half hours came to just over $50. The catalog, which I did not buy, would have added another $40.

Posted by: OREN GRAD

3 Comments:

Blogger Monkeini said...

So "OREN GRAD" is an anagram, right? But is it really:

No Regard
Dan Rodger
Red Organ
And Err...GoDr No Rage
Dr Ego Ran
or
Rad Goner

?

4:39 AM  
Blogger Eugene S said...

Red Ragon

10:53 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Oren Grad is the bonafide name of a bonafide person.

--Mike J.

2:41 AM  

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