The Art Gallery of Ontario invites visitors to see photography in a fascinating new light with Pop Photographica: Photography's Objects in Everyday Life, 1842-1969. Organized by the AGO, this exhibition explores how photographs have been used to adorn and personalize everyday objects for more than 150 years, since the invention of the daguerreotype. The exhibition will be on display at the AGO from April 26 to July 20, 2003.
Presenting more than 160 works from private collections throughout the United States and Canada, Pop Photographica illustrates the ability that photographs have to bestow objects with individual identity and personal narrative. This compelling aspect of photography has seldom been explored and many of these objects have never before been exhibited in an art museum anywhere in the world.
"Pop Photographica offers new insight and new adventures in seeing and thinking about photography," stated Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO Director and CEO. "Photography empowers us to make the everyday intensely personal. This exhibition demonstrates how individuals have used photography to declare 'I am here'."
The exhibition will take visitors through a compelling journey that pays tribute to these intriguing objects and the ingenuity of their unknown creators. A mourning bracelet made of woven and braided hair, worn by a daughter, features a portrait of a father and a miniature of the mother as a young girl on the reverse, while an attached silver charm reveals the tiniest lock of hair. An African-American handmade rag doll once belonged to a little girl whose own face is the telltale imprint on the photographic face of her playmate. A pillow cover of 36 chain-stitched cyanotype images printed on cotton tells the story of a young man's travels and adventures. An Ansel Adams' view of Yosemite Valley is replicated and wrapped around a Hills Brothers coffee tin, extolling this natural wonder with a certain commercial irony. Each of these objects demonstrates the power of the photograph to ground our existence in our own identity and personal associations.
Daile Kaplan, photo historian and guest curator of the exhibition, coined the term "pop photographica" to describe these objects from popular culture that incorporate photographic images. Ms. Kaplan, who is also Vice President and Director of Photographs at Swann Galleries, New York, contributes new insight to photography's populist roots and explores its impact on our collective cultural experience since the daguerrian era to the late 1960s.
An illustrated 100-page catalogue, with a keynote essay by Daile Kaplan and contributions by Maia-Mari Sutnik, AGO Associate Curator of Photography, has been published by the AGO to accompany the exhibition.
The Art Gallery of Ontario is pleased to recognize Epson Canada Ltd. as the lead sponsor of this important exhibition. "Truly a celebration of the creative spirit, Pop Photographica is a revealing journey into the ways image reproduction permeated daily life since its very inception," said Don Saunders, Vice President & Country Manager, Epson Canada, Limited. "Epson Canada salutes the Art Gallery of Ontario and its commitment to photography in all its magnificent forms and uses."
A complementary installation, Untitled Photographs: Fictions & Fantasies, will feature 33 anonymous photographic prints of unknown origin. During the course of the exhibition, personal interpretations of the mysteries embedded in these images will be added to the exhibition through texts from artists, a writer and a historian.
Founded in 1900, the AGO is among the most renowned art museums in North America, with a 486,000 square-foot facility and a collection of 36,000 works. The AGO's program of exhibitions, school visits, family activities and lectures attracts close to 600,000 visitors each year.
Unknown. American 19th c.
Bottle. Wedding Portrait of a Young Couple, c. 1880
Cabinet card amidst gilt and die-cut scenery and flower decals
28.0 x 11.4 x 5.0 cm