The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Graffiti: Dead End]

Object Details

Title:

[Graffiti: Dead End]

Artist/Maker:

Walker Evans (American, 1903 - 1975)

Culture:

American

Date:

about 1973 - 1974

Medium:

Polaroid SX-70 dye diffusion print

Object Number:

93.XM.15.2

Dimensions:

7.9 × 7.8 cm (3 1/8 × 3 1/16 in.)

Copyright:

© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Object Description

"After all, I am getting older, and I feel that nobody should touch a Polaroid until he's over sixty," remarked Walker Evans in an interview the year that he died. He was introduced to the instantaneous Polaroid SX-70 camera and color film in 1972 and used it for two years, primarily making portraits of colleagues, friends, and students. Eventually he made more than 2,400 Polaroid images.

In this photograph, Evans's familiar love of signs and words is evident in the cryptic message "DEAD END" that has been spray-painted on a metal sign. It is uncanny as well as ironic, given that the Polaroid camera marked a new and fruitful path in Evans's career.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995