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In Focus: Group f/64 and the Bay Area

Not on view
12/2/2015 - 5/29/2016
Organizing institution: Mills College Art Museum

Featuring work from MCAM’s collection, In Focus: Group f/64 and the Bay Area examines photographs by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Alma Lavenson, Sonya Noskowiak, Brett Weston, and Edward Weston. Group f/64 was a collective of early 20th-century Bay Area photographers who shared a modernist photographic style characterized by sharp-focused and closely cropped images seen through a particularly Northern Californian point of view.

The exhibition showcases MCAM’s unique holdings and demonstrates the connections between Mills and this pioneering group of photographers. In Focus features images taken on Mills’ campus as well as portraits of innovative visiting artists and faculty, including musician Henry Cowell and muralist Diego Rivera. Work in the exhibition also demonstrates the influence of Albert Bender, the San Francisco philanthropist who helped found MCAM in 1925 and who financed Ansel Adams’ first portfolio of photographs. The selected photographs highlight iconic modernist images, including botanicals by Imogen Cunningham, as well as more unusual examples of the artists’ work, such as early portraits by Ansel Adams.

The group exhibited together in 1932 at the Young Museum in San Francisco. Their name, f/64, was taken from the smallest lens aperture on their large format cameras, which allowed them to capture the greatest possible depth of field in order to create sharply detailed prints. Revolutionary in their day, Group f/64 was one of the first modern art movements equally defined by women. From the San Francisco Bay Area, its influence extended internationally, contributing significantly to the recognition of photography as a fine art.

In Focus: Group f.64 and the Bay Area is curated by Mills students Eliza Ayres, Iona de la Torre, Melony Ford, Akari Goda-Maurezzutt, Veronica Lopez Moreno Chavez, and Sarah Renning and is accompanied by a digital exhibition catalogue.

Exhibition Objects (29)

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