Columbus Museum of Art
Located in Upper Level Ross Wing, Gallery 5
On view now
Arbus • Sherman • Woodman: American Photography from the 1960s and 1970s is included with the cost of general admission.
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On view in Gallery 5 is work by three major American photographers—Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, and Francesca Woodman—produced between 1962–1980. At a time when photography was regarded as less important than painting and sculpture, these artists were pushing the limits of the medium to create innovative practices and perspectives.
This selection of monochromatic prints reflects a shared interest in capturing the world outside oneself as well as the world within. Perspective is an elemental link between each work: the images speak to how we see ourselves as individuals, how we are perceived, and how we observe others.
While Arbus was known for photographing families, children, pedestrians, performers, and celebrities, both Sherman and Woodman turned the camera on themselves. Dressing as anonymous female film characters from the 1950s and 1960s, Sherman poses in the series Untitled Film Stills. However, these works are not considered self-portraits, but rather carefully constructed performances of various female identities. Conversely, Woodman’s surrealist images might be called non-traditional self-portraits. By obscuring, blurring, or cropping parts of herself out of the final image, the photographs become intimate, personal snapshots that reflect a wider human fragility.
Arbus, Sherman, and Woodman are considered among the most prominent twentieth-century photographers and remain influential to contemporary artists today. By including aspects of feminism in their work and pushing the limits of the medium, these women challenged societal norms of their time while contributing to the elevation of photography as an art form.