Close to Home: Photographers and Their Families

February 4, 2011 – July 24, 2011

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor, South Floor Plan

In the 1980s, Larry Sultan and Tina Barney reinvigorated portraiture by turning their lenses on their own families to document their personal histories. These images record intimate moments these artists have elected to share and offer a glimpse into the private world most choose to reserve behind closed doors. The familiarity of these photographs belies a more elaborate process behind the lens. Having a parent, spouse, or sibling who is a photographer means living with the constant presence of the camera. The subjects in these images were accustomed to an observer who was also an inseparable part of their daily lives.

This exhibition presents 32 color and black-and-white photographs from the museum's permanent collection made during the past three decades by nine established and emerging artists: Tina Barney, Virginia Beahan, Christopher Dawson, Muriel Hasbun, Martina Lopez, Elaine O'Neil, Larry Sultan, Margaret Strickland, and Carrie Will. The exhibition includes many new acquisitions, which are on view at the museum for the first time.