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Major Exhibition at the Getty Explores Walker Evans' Rich Artistic Legacy

Works by Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol Featured

Walker Evans & Company: Works from The Museum of Modern Art July 10-September 16, 2001

Press Preview: Tuesday, July 10, 9-11 a.m.

June 28, 2001

Los Angeles--Walker Evans & Company: Works from The Museum of Modern Art, a wide-ranging exhibition organized by The Museum of Modern Art in New York that explores the impact of Evans' work on other artists, will be on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from July 10 through September 16, 2001. This will be its only showing outside of New York, where the highly acclaimed exhibition was presented last year as part of Making Choices, the second cycle of the MoMA2000 trilogy of exhibitions from its permanent collection.

Walker Evans & Company features 55 photographs by Evans (American, 1903-1975) along with 151 works by other artists including photographs, paintings, sculpture, drawings, and prints. Of these, 20 works that were published in the Walker Evans & Company catalogue but not displayed in New York will be on view.

Among more than 70 artists represented in the exhibition are Berenice Abbott, Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Harry Callahan, Stuart Davis, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, William Eggleston, Louis Faurer, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jan Groover, Andreas Gursky, Edward Hopper, Russell Lee, Roy Lichtenstein, Wright Morris, Robert Rauschenberg, August Sander, Michael Schmidt, Cindy Sherman, Stephen Shore, Thomas Struth, Andy Warhol, Edward Weston, and Marion Post Wolcott.

The American Tradition & Walker Evans: Photographs from the Getty Collection, on view from July 10 through October 28, 2001, will complement the MoMA-organized exhibition by bringing together more than 100 photographs from the Getty Museum's own collection. Evans' best known work, from the 1930s, serves as the fulcrum on which the two exhibitions turn. Walker Evans & Company looks forward in time, from the 1930s to the present, while The American Tradition & Walker Evans looks back to Evans' 19th-century predecessors.

Organized by Peter Galassi, chief curator, department of photography at MoMA, Walker Evans & Company is presented in eight sections, each devoted to a single dimension of Evans' work. Each group of Evans' photographs is presented together with works by other artists that anticipate, extend, or otherwise resonate with a given dimension of Evans' art.

"Evans' discovery that the medium of mug shots and real estate ads could be the stuff of high art has been enormously influential," Galassi said. "By dispensing with the pictorial flourishes and privileged subjects that had prevailed before he arrived on the scene, he opened artistically ambitious photography to any and all subjects and to the full range of the medium's descriptive curiosity. In the process he radically broadened modern art's sustained engagement with the world outside the studio."

Evans produced much of his most important work for the government agency now known as the Farm Security Administration. Although Evans' photographs are habitually celebrated as documents of the Great Depression, Walker Evans & Company aims to show that his interrogation of American society ranged far beyond the troubles of the Depression and continued to reverberate long after the 1930s. After World War II his example of skeptical engagement with the contemporary scene proved invaluable to a diverse roster of younger photographers, beginning with Frank, Friedlander, and Arbus.

In the 1960s and later, the leaders of the Pop Art movement and its successors reinvigorated American painting and sculpture by embracing the everyday world. They demonstrated that both Evans' vernacular iconography--car culture, billboards and advertising, the movies, and thrift-shop ephemera--and his mixing of ironic detachment and open affection were not time-honored relics of the 1930s but essential resources of contemporary art, as was his nimble approach to photography as transparent fact, potent symbol, and medium of recycled replication.

Walker Evans & Company was organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The presentation in New York was made possible by Robert and Joyce Menschel, Mrs. Jan Cowles, The Starr Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, the Contemporary Exhibition Fund of The Museum of Modern Art, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Publications

The Museum of Modern Art has published a catalogue, Walker Evans & Company, to accompany the exhibition. The 272-page book by Peter Galassi includes 67 color and 323 duotone illustrations (clothbound $55 and paperbound $34.95).

Walker Evans' photographs of life in Cuba in 1933 are the subject of a new Getty publication, Walker Evans: Cuba. The 96-page book includes more than 60 photographs from the Getty Museum's collection and an essay by writer and commentator Andrei Codrescu (hardcover: $24.95). This book complements three other Walker Evans titles previously published by the Getty--Walker Evans: The Getty Museum Collection, Walker Evans: Signs, and Walker Evans: Florida.

All of these books are available in the Getty Museum bookstore, via the Internet at, or by calling 800-223-3431.

Note to editors: Color images available upon request.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.