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"Mary Ellen Mark: Photographs"
2000-05-13 until 2000-08-06
Philadelphia Museum of Art
USA United States of America
Mary Ellen Mark: Photographs is the first major exhibition to focus exclusively on the acclaimed photographer's extensive
American work. The exhibition will feature some 141 black-and-white photographs, many of which have never been exhibited.
Included are powerful photographs from several of Mark's well-known projects, including 'Streetwise,' 'Beauty Pageants,' 'Rural
Poverty,' 'Texas Rodeos,' 'The Damm Family,' and 'Christian Bikers.'
Unsurpassed in bringing icon-like presence to her subjects, whether 'everyday' or unusual, Mark (born 1940) was recently
voted 'Most Influential Woman Photographer of All Time' by readers of American Photo magazine. In Mary Ellen Mark:
Photographs, her empathic and penetrating vision is revealed in photographs that range from poignant images of a family
living in its car or the devastated lives of women in a psychiatric ward, to the exploits of Miami gigolos, spring-break revelers,
prom-goers, cross-dressers, and trick-or-treaters.
Viewed together, Mark's images form an arresting view of the United States, from innocuous backyard activities to the
harshness of street life and the quirkiness of its subcultures. Mary Ellen Mark: Photographs presents a compelling look at a
vast and endlessly fascinating country, from Coney Island to Daytona and Miami. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny,
occasionally shocking and bizarre, Mark touches on the essence of American life, and looks for the common threads that
connect us all.
Mark studied painting and art history at the University of Pennsylvania, and photojournalism at Penn's Annenberg School of
Communications. She has published 11 books, and lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale
University. For almost three decades, Mark has traveled extensively, and her images of the world's diverse cultures have
become landmarks in the field of documentary photography. Her portrayals of Mother Theresa, Indian circuses, and brothels in
Bombay were the product of many years of work in India (Mark's photographs were featured in India: A Celebration of
Independence, 1947-1997, a major touring exhibition organized by the Alfred Stieglitz Center of the Philadelphia Museum of
Art, which was on view at the Museum from July 6 through August 31, 1997). Mark's photo essay on runaway children in
Seattle inspired Streetwise, an Academy Award-winning film produced by the photographer and directed by her husband, the
filmmaker Martin Bell.
Mary Ellen Mark: Photographs is organized by Aperture Foundation, New York. Michael E. Hoffman, Executive Director of
Aperture Foundation, and Melissa Harris, Senior Editor, are guest curators of the exhibition. Aperture Foundation is a
not-for-profit organization devoted to photography and the visua arts. The exhibition and its accompanying publication have
been made possible by the generous support of Annette and Jack Friedland, Lynne and Harold Honickman, and Marion
The 151-page catalogue, published by Aperture, features exquisite tri-tone reproductions of the works comprising the
exhibition. It is available for $50.00 in hardcover, and $35.00 in softcover, in our Online Store, at the Museum Store, or by
calling 1.800.329.4856. Additional support for the catalogue was provided by Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and
The Buhl Foundation, New York.