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Common Ground: Eight Philadelphia Photographers in the 1960s and 1970s

September 12, 2009–February 3, 2010

Common Ground examines a critical period for the art of photography and for the Philadelphia art scene. In the 1960s, photographers including Emmet Gowin, William Larson, and Ray K. Metzker, among the first generation of photographers trained in university art departments, all came to Philadelphia to teach in the city's renowned art schools, bringing with them experimental approaches to the medium.

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Common Ground brings together work by these internationally acclaimed artists and superb work by lesser-known figures, including some of their students, who pushed photographic experimentation to explore both the medium and the social and sexual politics of the era. In addition to highlighting eight strong bodies of work, the exhibition demonstrates the rich exchange of ideas possible within a city's artistic community. Metzker's Composites: Philadelphia (1964), catalogues time and motion through a sequence of images, presenting an elegant meditation on photography's unique qualities, at the same time offering a penetrating image of urban life in the 1960s. Also featured in the exhibition is work by Will Brown, Emmet Gowin, Catherine Jansen, William Larson, David Lebe, Sol Mednick, and Carol Taback.

Main Building


Peter Barberie • The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center
Julia Dolan • The Horace W. Goldsmith Curatorial Fellow in Photography

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