Through his devotion to capturing the American landscape in photography with unsurpassed precision, Ansel Adams left a lasting mark on the discipline of landscape photography and continues to inspire conservationists and photographers to this day.
As a testament to Adam’s legendary status, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia will showcase a selection of some of his greatest photographs in the exhibition “Ansel Adams: A Legacy,” opening June 7 and running through Oct. 13.
The exhibition tracks the career of one of the most recognized photographers of the 20th century over the course of a 60-year period – from the 1920s to the 1980s. It charts Adams’ development from his early works, conveying an artist first exploring his medium, to masterworks from his most productive period during the late 1930s through the 1950s.
Adams considered these photographs some of his most significant work. Originally selected by Adams and given to The Friends of Photography to represent his legacy, the collection is on loan from Lynn and Tom Meredith, trustees with the U.Va. College Foundation Board.
“The opportunity to present this work and engage in a multidisciplinary dialogue about its significance marks an exciting new collaboration between OpenGrounds and The Fralin,” said William Sherman, founding director of OpenGrounds and associate professor of architecture in the U.Va. School of Architecture.
The exhibition reveals Adams’ passionate devotion to the American landscape and the technical expertise that defined his work. Adams had a profound impact on the medium, coupling photography’s capacity to capture a singular perception with his recognition of the beauty, importance and fragility of the landscapes he recorded.
“Adams’ work as a photographer, mentor and environmental advocate exemplifies the ways in which visual representations of the environment influence ideas and attitudes toward conservation,” Sherman said.
Sherman will lead a special Reunions Weekend tour of the Adams exhibit on June 8 from 2 to 3 p.m.
An accompanying exhibition, “Looking at the New West: Contemporary Landscape Photography,” on view from June 7 to Dec. 15, vividly illustrates Adams’ lasting influence.
The openings of “Looking at the New West” and “Ansel Adams: A Legacy” will be closely followed by Charlottesville’s LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, which takes place from June 13-15. OpenGrounds and LOOK3 festival will co-sponsor an opening reception for the exhibitions at The Fralin Museum of Art on June 15 from 6 to 9 p.m.
To support multidisciplinary exchange and Universitywide engagement with the Adams and contemporary photography exhibitions, OpenGrounds will sponsor a Sept. 27 symposium , “Changing Views: Photography and Environmental Action.”
A catalog accompanying the exhibits will feature essays by Sherman; Finis Dunaway, associate professor and director of the History Graduate Program at Trent University; and Brian Richter, director of Global Freshwater Strategies at the Nature Conservancy. The exhibit catalog is co-edited by Sherman, Wylie and Lindsey Hepler, program manager for OpenGrounds, and will be released during the Sept. 27 symposium. Pre-order information for this catalog is available in the exhibition programs.
The Fralin Museum of Art’s programming is made possible by the support of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation. This exhibition is made possible through the support of the Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the U.Va. Alumni Association; the Office of the Vice President for Research; the Page-Barbour and Richard Lecture Series at U.Va.; Albemarle Magazine; Ivy Publications LLC’s Charlottesville Welcome Book; OpenGrounds; and Lynn and Tom Meredith.
In addition to the Adams exhibits, The Fralin Museum of Art’s summer programming opens on June 7 with “Looking at the New West: Contemporary Landscape Photography,” “Frenemies: Animals in Art” and “From Alaska to the Mountain Peaks of Central Mexico: Depicting Native American Life in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Remaining on view this summer is “Becoming the Butterfly: Portraits of James McNeill Whistler.”
The Fralin Museum of Art, located at 155 Rugby Road, one block from the Rotunda, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.