This first major retrospective of Anne Brigman (1869-1950) features 250 photographs and is accompanied by a significant 400-page publication co-published by Rizzoli Electa. A companion exhibition, Laid Bare in the Landscape, assembles photographs, films, and performance documentation by women artists like Judy Chicago and Ana Mendieta who situate the nude female body in outdoor landscapes. These exhibitions, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art, are on view in Reno from September 29, 2018 until January 27, 2019.
The Nevada Museum of Art presents the groundbreaking work of visionary photographer Anne Brigman (1869-1950) in this first major retrospective. Consisting of 250 photographs drawn from public and private collections, Anne Brigman: A Visionary in Modern Photography features this pioneering artist’s most iconic work, including her early photographic explorations, as well as many never-before-seen images, correspondence, and archival materials. Photographer, poet, critic, and mountaineer, Brigman is best known for her figurative landscape images made in the Sierra Nevada in the early 1900s. Anne Brigman: A Visionary in Modern Photography opens September 29, 2018 and remains on view through January 27, 2019 at the Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery located in downtown Reno, Nevada. To accompany the exhibition, The Nevada Museum of Art and Rizzoli Electa, New York, have published the first comprehensive book devoted to Anne Brigman, and have also re-published Brigman’s 1949 out-of-print poetry book, Songs of a Pagan.
Raised in a prominent late-nineteenth-century Hawaiian missionary family, there is no doubt that Brigman’s nude portraits of herself and other women, taken outdoors in the California landscape in the early 1900s, challenged the customs of her Victorian upbringing and broke the rules of propriety for her time. Brigman’s significance spanned both coasts of the United States. In Northern California, where she lived and worked, she was a leading Pictorialist photographer, proponent of the Arts & Crafts movement, and a participant in the burgeoning Berkeley/Oakland Bohemian community. On the East Coast, her work was promoted by Alfred Stieglitz, who elected her to the prestigious Photo-Secession and championed her as a Modern photographer.
Although the term feminist art was not coined until nearly seventy years after Brigman made her first photographs, the suggestion that her camera gave her the power to redefine her place as a woman in society establishes her as an important forerunner in the field. “My pictures tell of my freedom of soul, of my emancipation from fear,” Brigman wrote in 1913. “I slowly found my power with the camera among the junipers and the tamarack pines of the high, storm-swept altitudes.”
“The time is right to rediscover the work of Anne Brigman,” said exhibition curator and book editor Ann M. Wolfe, Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director at the Nevada Museum of Art. “The thought of a woman making nude self-portraits of herself in the early 1900s was radical, but to do so in the rugged wilderness of the Sierra Nevada was revolutionary.”
The largest exhibition of Brigman’s work to date, Anne Brigman: A Visionary in Modern Photography brings together 250 photographs drawn from the private collection of Michael and Jane Wilson and the Wilson Centre for Photography in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, MoMA, New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and many private collections. London-based Michael Wilson, the world’s foremost collector of 19th-century photography, who is also an American film producer and screenwriter, is credited with encouraging the rediscovery of Anne Brigman’s work and generously loaned many photographs from his from his significant Brigman holdings for the exhibition.
Anne Brigman: A Visionary in Modern Photography and Laid Bare in the Landscape are curated by Ann M. Wolfe, Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director at the Nevada Museum of Art. The exhibitions openned September 29, 2018 and remain on view through January 27, 2019 at the Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery located in downtown Reno, Nevada.