CHICAGO (June 2014) – The High Museum of Art in Atlanta will be the first major art museum in nearly 40 years to mount a retrospective of work by photographer Wynn Bullock (1902-1975). The High’s Keough Family Curator of Photography and Head of Collections, Brett Abbott, organized the exhibition in collaboration with the Center for Creative Photography. Opened June 14, the exhibition features more than 100 black-and-white and color photographs displayed with Tru Vue® Optium® Acrylic Glazing, including a number of works on display for the first time.
Wynn Bullock: Revelations offers an unprecedentedly complete look at Bullock’s innovative career, beginning with his early light abstractions and moving through his landscapes, figure studies, color work, negative images and late abstractions. A fully illustrated catalogue published under the same title by the High and the University of Texas Press will accompany the exhibition.
One of the most significant photographers of the mid-20th century, Bullock worked in the American modernist tradition alongside Edward Weston, Harry Callahan and Ansel Adams. Like his esteemed colleagues, Bullock was a master printmaker whose attention to detail resulted in photographic objects of astounding beauty. “For Bullock, the craftsmanship behind his work was just as important as its conceptual underpinnings,” emphasizes Abbott. “His work is marked by a delicacy and intricacy in printing that was so critical to mid-20th century modernist photography. With reflective glazing, it’s hard to appreciate the rich, velvety tones of Bullock’s prints. We really needed a framing system that would allow viewers to experience his work in an intimate and powerfully immediate way, otherwise we would not have done justice to his work.”
Tru Vue Optium Acrylic Glazing is relied upon by museums worldwide including those in Greece, Italy, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, as well as throughout the United States. “Tru Vue has worked closely with the museum community to develop this product to meet superior aesthetic and conservation standards,” says Julie Heath, Tru Vue’s museum liaison. “Optium combines the best of both worlds: glass and acrylic. It is a shatter-resistant, abrasion-resistant, anti-static, anti-reflective material that blocks up to 99 percent of damaging UV light. The anti-reflective coating of Optium erases the boundary between the artwork and the viewer.”
Abbott agrees and continues, “Most framing glass presents a barrier that captures reflections and interrupts the intended experience of a work of art. And in the case of Bullock, you really lose some of what’s special about his prints when you see yourself mirrored in the glazing. Optium takes that sense of mediation away, making the art itself primary to the viewing experience. We really wanted Bullock’s work to have an opportunity to sing on our walls, and Optium has made all the difference in helping us reach that goal.”
Along with Optium, all 108 prints are displayed with a simple, warm white matt and black wood frame. The High’s curatorial team framed two-thirds of the exhibit’s artworks, and the Center for Creative Photography’s team framed the remaining third. “It went very smoothly. The Optium glazing is wonderful to work with,” says Abbott. “And we love working with Tru Vue’s staff.”
Wynn Bullock: Revelations coincides with a major gift to the High from the Bullock Estate of a large collection of vintage photographs, making the High one of the most significant repositories of Bullock’s work in the country.
Photos courtesy: High Museum of Art
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