Thresholds of Vision: Barbara Morgan, Diane Arbus, Francesca Woodman

Columbus Museum of Art

Located in Upper Level Ross Wing, Gallery 5
On view through August 11, 2024

Admission Information

Thresholds of Vision: Barbara Morgan, Diane Arbus, Francesca Woodman is included with the cost of general admission.

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Exhibition Description

Since the invention of photography in the nineteenth century, artists have used the medium to challenge habits of vision and thought. In different ways, the three photographers included in this gallery—Barbara Morgan, Francesca Woodman, and Diane Arbus—each seek to unsettle conventions of sensory perception and social visibility, exploring viewpoints, subjects, and states of emotion outside the bounds of everyday experience.

While living in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Barbara Morgan sought “to express the conflict between the people and their environment” in the industrial metropolis, juxtaposing views of city crowds with organic objects collected from the natural world. A generation later, beginning in the 1960s, Diane Arbus turned her focus toward the social margins, offering individuals marked as social outcasts an opportunity to be represented in her photographs on their terms. In the late 1970s, Francesca Woodman deployed her camera to test the boundaries of the self, creating dreamlike photographs in which the artist’s body—often nude—flickers into and out of visibility. With these different photographic strategies and techniques, each artist asks us to reconsider our place in and perspective upon the world around us.

Barbara Morgan, City Shell (detail), 1938 (printed 1980), Gelatin silver print, The Alfred L. Wilson Fun of the Columbus Foundation and the Misc. Photograph Fund

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