March 13, 2011

FLLAC: Barney, Davis, Newbegin Photo Exhibition as part of Vassar's 150th anniversary

150 Years Later: New Photography 
by Tina Barney, Tim Davis, 
and Katherine Newbegin
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center 
FLLAC at Vassar College   
Poughkeepsie, NY
Through March 27, 2011

As part of a campus-wide celebration of Vassar’s sesquicentennial anniversary, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center commissioned three photographers to create new work to highlight different aspects of campus life. The resulting photographs in the exhibition 150 YEARS LATER: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY BY TINA BARNEY, TIM DAVIS, AND KATHERINE NEWCOMING focus on the people, environment, and the culture of Vassar today. The exhibition is curated by Mary-Kay Lombino, The Emily Hargroves Fisher ’57 and Richard B. Fisher Curator and Assistant Director for Strategic Planning at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and is on view since January 28 through March 27, 2011.

The approximately 40 new works created for this exhibition uncover a side of Vassar that is not often seen by the average visitor to campus. “Foregoing the typical view of architectural and natural beauty for which the college is known, Barney, Davis, and Newbegin instead focused on the idiosyncratic, the ironic, and the hidden aspects of campus life that lie beneath the surface,” explained Lombino. “They have pieced together a portrait of Vassar that reveals as much about the artists’ interests as it does about their subject.”

Each photographer’s work is presented in one of three adjoining galleries. Lombino noted that each photographer chose to represent the college in different ways — Tina Barney with intimate close-up images of people, Katherine Newbegin’s focus on dark and dingy forgotten corners, and Tim Davis’s search to capture the absurdity in everyday life.  

TINA BARNEY was born in 1945 in NYC. Monographic publications of her work include: Friends and Relations: Photographs by Tina Barney (Smithsonian 1991), Tina Barney Photographs: Theater of Manners (Scalo 1997), Tina Barney: The Europeans (Steidl 2005). Barney’s last book Players, was published in 2010. Her work is in such collections as the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York; Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut; Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“Vassar is so pretty, so stately,” noted TIM DAVIS (b. 1969, Blantyre, Malawi). “I chose ‘Move Out Day’ as a subject in order to see this ideally arranged place in a state of derangement. Cameras love chaos as much as they enjoy order and I felt privileged to be able examine this campus as it folded up and began its annual bivouac home.”

Tim Davis’s publications include The New Antiquity (Damiani 2010), My Life in Politics (Aperture 2006), Permanent Collection (Nazraeli Press 2005) and Lots (Coromandel Design 2002). In addition, he has published several books of his poetry. Davis currently teaches at Bard College while living and working in New York City and Tivoli, New York.

KATHERINE NEWBEGIN (b. 1976, Portland, Oregon. Lives and works in New York and Berlin.) remarked that it took her “several visits before I stumbled upon what I felt to be the hidden world of Vassar . . . I spent so much time wandering in basements and attics, and it was through this process that I eventually felt I was able to get under the skin of Vassar. Simultaneously, I was drawn to the student life happening on the surface, and the tension that lies between these two worlds, one silent and aging, the second so full of life.” 

This commission follows a strong photographic legacy at Vassar that dates back to the early part of the 20th century. Throughout the history of the college photographers have been invited to campus to capture the architecture, people, and lifestyle. Two fine historical examples are Paul Strand who photographed several Vassar buildings in 1915 and Albert Eisenstadt who illustrated campus life for the February 1937 issue of LIFE magazine. Several of the original photographs from these earlier commissions are in the Art Center’s permanent collection and are presented in a nearby gallery to compliment the new work by Barney, Davis, and Newbegin. 

MARY-KAY LOMBINO was appointed to the position of Emily Hargroves Fisher ’57 and Richard B. Fisher Curator in 2006 and, in fall 2009, appointed as Assistant Director for Strategic Planning of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.  During her time at Vassar, she has curated several notable exhibitions, including Off the Shelf: New Form in Contemporary Artists’ Books; Out of Shape: Stylistic Distortions of the Human Form in Art from the Logan Collection; Facebook: Image of People in Photographs from the Permanent Collection; Excerpt: Selections from the Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn Collection; Faith and Fantasy; and Harry Roseman: Hole in the Wall.  In 2009, Lombino was named a fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL); and in 2005, she received a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship to study work by the late California Symbolist/Surrealist painter Dorr Bothwell. Lombino received a BA in art history from the University of Richmond and an MA in art history and museum studies from the University of Southern California in 1995. She has organized solo shows for numerous artists including Phil Collins, Ken Price, Amy Myers, Gay Outlaw, Euan Macdonald, Alice Könitz, Candida Höfer, and Mungo Thomson.

An exhibition Catalogue has been published. 

Palmer Gallery exhibition: Through the Student Lens: 1865 - 2011
James W. Palmer III Gallery
October 27 - November, 2011 (exact dates to be announced)
The James W. Palmer III Gallery in Main Building’s College Center will present the photographic exhibition titled Through the Student Lens: 1865 - 2011, curated by Hudson Valley artist Monica Church. Student photographers will chronicle various dimensions of life at Vassar and their work will be exhibited along with photographs by past students, selected from the archives.

124 Raymond Ave 
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604