The Bunnen Collection of Photography
Sept. 7, 2013 – Feb. 2, 2014
ATLANTA, August 12, 2013 – The High Museum of Art will present some of its rarest and most valuable photographs in “The Bunnen Collection of Photography,” an exhibition featuring a selection of works donated to the Museum by local photographer and arts advocate Lucinda W. Bunnen. On view from Sept. 7, 2013 through Feb. 2, 2014, the exhibition celebrates the legacy of one of the region’s most dedicated arts supporters.
“The Bunnen Collection of Photography” is curated by High Museum of Art Curator of Photography Brett Abbott and will feature more than 125 prints, including works by Bunnen herself. The exhibition will highlight the aesthetic relationship between Bunnen’s work and the photographs she collected, as well as showcase works by local photographers with those by nationally and internationally renowned artists.
A long-time Atlanta resident, Bunnen began taking and collecting pictures passionately in 1970. Later that decade, she started collecting world-class photographs with the intention of donating the works to the High, helping establish the Museum as one of the nation’s premiere collecting institutions for contemporary photography.
Beginning with a purchase of 26 photographs by renowned Southern photographer Clarence John Laughlin, Bunnen’s collecting focused on new works by living photographers of the day, highlighting prominent international artists alongside those celebrated regionally. The collection was unveiled at the High in 1983 in a project titled “Subjective Vision.” Since then, Bunnen has continued to support the growth of the High’s photography collection in significant ways. Altogether, she has been involved in the addition of more than 650 prints to the collection over the past 32 years.
“Today, the High’s photography collection is the Museum’s largest and fastest growing division,” said Abbott. ”This amazing growth would not have been possible without the support of Lucinda Bunnen. We are honored to share the works in this collection with Atlanta and to celebrate Lucinda’s invaluable contributions to the High and to the city’s arts community as a whole.”
In addition to photographs by Bunnen, including “Man in a Wall Window, New York City” (1970-1975), other key works in the exhibition will include:
- Ansel Adams, “Pipes and Gauges,” 1939
- Bill Brandt, “Deserted Street in Bloomsbury,” 1941
- Oraien Catledge, “Untitled,” n.d. (portrait of a Cabbagetown family)
- Chuck Close, “Self-Portrait (3 Parts),” 1980
- William Eggleston, “Untitled (Freezer),” ca. 1971-1973, printed 1980
- Nan Goldin, “Cookie Laughing, NYC,” 1985
- Clarence John Laughlin, “The Improbable Dome: 1964,” printed 1979
- Sally Mann, “Jessie Bites,” 1985, printed 1995
- Lisette Model, “New York,” ca. 1951
- Nicholas Nixon, “The Brown Sisters,” 1975-2012
- Robert Rauschenberg, “Untitled, from the Bleacher series,” 1989
- Cindy Sherman, “Untitled, from the Untitled Film Stills series,” 1979, printed 1989
- Joel Sternfeld, “Exhausted Renegade Elephant, Woodburn, Washington,” June 1979
About Lucinda W. Bunnen
Lucinda Weil Bunnen, an avid photographer, private collector, and philanthropist residing in Atlanta, was born and raised just north of New York City in Katonah, N.Y. The combination of her father descending from a Savannah, Ga., family, and her Aunt Dot having artist friends such as Alfred Stieglitz, presaged her deep involvement in photography and Southern culture. In 1952, Lucinda married Bobby Bunnen after he graduated with a degree in oral surgery in Boston, and the two moved to Atlanta. The couple built a home in Buckhead where she still lives to this day.
After a trip to Peru in the latter half of the 1960s, Bunnen became enamored with the process of capturing and sharing her experiences through photography. Bunnen was involved with the first photography class offered at the Atlanta College of Art in 1970. Less than six months later, after officially deciding to pursue photography, she was invited by the then director of the High Museum of Art, Gudmund Vigtel, to be part of the exhibition “Georgia Artists Exhibit” the following year. This led to Richard Hill, an Atlanta photographer and gallerist, offering Bunnen the first exhibition of photographs in a commercial fine art gallery in Atlanta. In 1973, Bunnen and 13 others founded Nexus, the first photography gallery in Atlanta that showcased new work by emerging photographers.
Bunnen’s body of work over the past 40 years has been characterized by an oscillation between experimental and documentary impulses. Bunnen’s first book, “Movers and Shakers,” documented the leaders working to transform Atlanta into a cosmopolitan city in the 1970s. Since that time, her extensive travels, as well as the landscape around her home, provided a rich assortment of subjects for Bunnen’s photographic projects.
Meeting Lee Witkin of the Witkin Gallery in New York in 1970 proved to be an influential moment in Bunnen’s life. Not only did Witkin encourage her to collect photographs, he urged her to champion the medium at arts institutions. When she began collecting, the photography market was still in its infancy and photography departments were not widely represented at museums. Later in the 1970s, Bunnen set out to assemble a world-class holding of photographs for the High Museum in Atlanta and to provide the city’s inhabitants with an inspirational resource. Bunnen and a small group of peer advisors focused on new work by living photographers, including internationally renowned artists and notable regional figures. Bunnen’s gifts to the High over the years include prints by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Emmet Gowin, Clarence John Laughlin, Frederick Sommer and Cindy Sherman. Bunnen is a Life Member of the High Museum of Art’s Board of Directors.
About the High Museum of Art’s Photography Collection
The High began collecting photographs in earnest in the early 1970s, making it one of the earliest American art museums to commit to the medium. Today, photography is the largest and fastest growing collection at the High. With nearly 5,400 prints, the holdings focus on American, documentary and contemporary photography and include the most significant museum collection of vintage Civil Rights-era prints in the nation.
About the High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 13,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information visit www.High.org.
About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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DIGITAL IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST