October 5, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events, Photographers | 0 Comments | |
News image

Beginning Wednesday, 15 December 2010, the Norton Museum of Art will explore the most basic aspects of photography in Stare: The Pleasures of the Intensely Familiar and the Strangely Unexpected. The exhibition gathers works that are by turns “intricate, outré, opaque, puzzling, and perverse”, created by seven photographers and other artists of “strikingly different sensibilities and concerns”.  They are: Diane Arbus (1923-1971); John Coplans (1920-2003); Walker Evans (1903-1975); Vik Muniz (b. 1961); J.D. Okhai Ojeikere (b. 1930); Ed Ruscha (b. 1937); and Taryn Simon (b. 1975)  The Norton Museum is located at 1451 S. Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00pm. General admission is $12 for adults, $5 for visitors aged 13-21, and free for members and children under 13.

Press Release

Encouraging an Act too often Discouraged, Norton Museum of Art Goes to the Heart of Photography

West Palm Beach, FL - Beginning Wednesday, December 15, 2010, the Norton Museum of Art will explore the most basic aspects of photography in Stare: The Pleasures of the Intensely Familiar and the Strangely Unexpected.

As the inaugural presentation in the Norton Museum’s newly dedicated Photography galleries, the exhibition gathers works that are by turns intricate, outré, opaque, puzzling, and perverse, created by seven photographers and artists of strikingly different sensibilities and concerns.  They are: Diane Arbus (1923-1971); John Coplans (1920-2003); Walker Evans (1903-1975); Vik Muniz (b. 1961); J.D. Okhai Ojeikere (b. 1930); Ed Ruscha (b. 1937); and Taryn Simon (b. 1975)

Hope Alswang, Director of the Norton, says: “We are very fittingly opening our new Photography galleries with an exhibition that is relevant to every period and style of the medium.” She continues: “Stare’s ambitious scope is of a piece with the Museum’s goal to bring the most stimulating Contemporary art in the world to Palm Beach.” Stare opens simultaneously with Now WHAT?, an exhibition that takes the pulse of new art at Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 and surrounding fairs.  Now WHAT? will be installed in galleries adjacent to Stare, in spaces now dedicated exclusively to the exhibition of Contemporary art.  This new commitment has been made possible through the generosity of Museum patrons William and Sarah Ross Soter, who have endowed the position of Photography Curator at the Museum, and donated $1.5 million as an endowment for Photography programming and acquisitions at the Norton.  Ruth and Ted Baum and Muriel and Ralph Saltzman have likewise recently committed a similar amount to underwrite the enhanced presence of Contemporary art at the Museum.

Surprisingly, 14 of the nearly 70 works in Stainback’s investigation into the nature of photography are not photographs at all, but, rather, painstakingly executed trompe l’oeils by Vik Muniz from his series Verso.  In exact scale and detail, each depicts the back of a photograph (like Exhibition Conversation, Khrushchev & Nixon or View of Astronaut Footprint in Lunar Soil) that is so indelibly imprinted on the mind of the culture that even just the mention of the title summons up the image and the era.

Artist Taryn Simon will contribute works from her latest series Contraband, for which she lived at John F. Kennedy International Airport for five days, photographing forbidden items detained or seized from passengers by customs officials.  She eventually made some 1075 photographs of over a thousand items: on view here will be seven of her typologically arranged ‘objective’ records of such contraband objects as counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags or sausages.

Stare also features nine photographs of African women’s hairstyles.  Shot in a documentary mode, with the models often posed with their backs to the camera, these photographs are drawn from a trove of more than a thousand taken by the Nigerian photographer J.D. Okahi Ojeikere beginning in 1968 with the intention to document the cultural traditions of these hairstyles.

The influential photographer Diane Arbus plays a significant role in Stare, which features 23 of her photographs, including many of her most iconic images, all entirely drawn from one private collection.  As well, the exhibition assembles six of John Coplans’ unsentimental close-ups of the aging male body (his own) and a single work by Ed Ruscha: Every Building on Sunset Strip (1966), an obsessive, mind-bending documentation/celebration of the mundane that has become a milestone work in the history of contemporary art.

Curator Charles A. Stainback

For 25 years Charles Stainback has been organizing exhibitions of Photography and Contemporary art. From 1997 until 2004 he was the Dayton Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York.  Opened in 2000, the Tang Museum quickly came to national prominence for its innovative programming which included its inaugural exhibition S.O.S.: Scenes of Sounds and From Pop to Now: Selections from the Sonnabend Collection.  From 1985 to 1997 Stainback served as Director of Exhibitions for the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City.  There he oversaw the exhibitions for both of ICP’s Manhattan venues, curating a number of critically successful exhibitions including a mid-career survey of the work of Vik Muniz, Seeing is Believing and David Levinthal’s, Work from 1975 to 1996.  While at ICP, Stainback also oversaw the exhibitions of many notable documentary photographers including: Cornell Capa, Arthur Rothstein and Carl Mydans.  In addition, Stainback has also featured various photo-based artists in many exhibitions over the past two decades including: Richard Prince, John Coplans, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Chuck Close, Laurie Simmons, Gillian Wearing, Sophie Calle, Cindy Sherman, Gregory Crewdson and Thomas Demand.

EXHIBITION ORGANIZATION & SUPPORT                                                           

Organized by the Norton Museum of Art. Local sponsorship of this exhibition is made possible in part through the generosity of William and Sarah Ross Soter and The Photography Committee of the Norton Museum of Art.


The Norton Museum of Art was founded in 1941 by Ralph and Elizabeth Norton whose collection, bequeathed in 1947 and 1953, already contained signature masterpieces by European artists such as Monet, Gauguin, Matisse, Brancusi, and Picasso, and by contemporaneous American painters such as Hassam, Marin, Bellows, Hopper, and O’Keeffe, alongside some of the world’s finest specimens of ancient Chinese bronzes and jades.  To this great legacy several thousand works have been added, by artists ranging from Cranach and Rubens to Pollock and Warhol, and the Museum has emerged as a dynamic collector of Contemporary art and of Photography.  Norton-organized exhibitions such as Candida Höfer, Georgia O’Keeffe:  Circling Around Abstraction, Calder Jewelry, William Kentridge:  Five Themes and Objects of Wonder: Four Centuries of Still Life from the Norton Museum have recently travelled to twenty American museums in venues such as New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and San Diego, and to European capitals including Paris and Vienna.  The Norton Museum of Art also shares its collections with the Palm Beach County community: 100,000 visitors are welcomed to the Museum each year including 9000 local school children.

The Norton Museum is located at 1451 S. Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. (Closed on major Holidays). General admission is $12 for adults, $5 for visitors ages 13-21, and free for Members and children under 13. For additional information, please call 561. 832.5196 or visit

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments


No comments yet. Post a comment below!