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For the past 8,000 years, artists have depicted human engagement with water. Initial images depicted the act of swimming; later, water served as a formal element that determined presence of place. The photographers included in this exhibition utilize water as an active element, making pictures that are, at their core, psychological engagements. Multifaceted and ever evolving, the water holds universal appeal. It is this mutable quality that transforms water into the literal and metaphorical container for a variety of profound meanings and desires, evolving human behaviors and dramas, and constructed narratives of self.
At once familiar to us all and yet completely unknowable, the water is a paradox. It is often perceived as a restorative element, an essential means to health and happiness. Yet, at the same time, it is a force formidable for its ubiquitous potential to threaten life. The exhibition explores water as a capable tabula rasa: it is both picturesque and repellant, conveys dreams or depicts catastrophic events, exists in a simulated environment or in unadulterated form, is experienced personally or as a voyeur, holds promise or signals disaster.
This exhibition is comprised of works from the museum's permanent collection and select loans, and includes photographs by Kael Alford, Diane Arbus, Corey Arnold, Tina Barney, Virginia Beahan and Laura McPhee, Damion Berger, Harry Callahan, Michael Childers, Gregory Crewdson, Zoe Crosher, Joe Deal, John Divola, Doug Dubois, James Fee, Francine Fleischer, Judith Fox, Adam Fuss, LeRoy Grannis, Jill Greenberg, Tim Hetherington, Nadav Kander, Tomasz Lazar, Jocelyn Lee, Joshua Lutz, Mary Ellen Mark, Richard Misrach, Andrew Moore, Joel Meyerowitz, Asako Narahashi, Martin Parr, Irina Rozovsky, Carrie Schneider, Joel Sternfeld, Juergen Teller, Guy Tillim, Carlo Van de Roer, and Bennett Wine and Nir Nadler.
This exhibition and accompanying programs are sponsored in part by the Emmett J. Doerr Endowment Fund, the Friends of the Haggerty, the Stackner Family Endowment Fund, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thursday, February 14, 5 P.M.
In a Lonely Place lecture by artist Gregory Crewdson, Eckstein Hall, reception to follow in the museum.
Free and open to the public.
All programs take place at the Haggerty unless otherwise noted.