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Chazen Museum of Art

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Chazen Museum of Art
800 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1479
Voice: 608-263-2246

The Chazen's collections include over 300 photographs, all postdating World War II. The museum, in the last decade, has acquired 78 photographs by W. Eugene Smith, and 20 photographs by Larry Towell. Smith and Towell are both considered journalistic photographers, but both have also created significant bodies of work that record their aesthetic and personal lives. This area of photography, where the individual vision and purposeful reporting collide, represents an area of continuing interest and debate in the medium.

Another group of photographs, done in the 1950s through the 1980s, includes 55 works by Ralph Gibson, 15 by Gary Winogrand and 18 by Elliot Erwitt. These photographers approach ranges from introspective meditations on the visual world to snapshots of street encounters, and explorations of the lush possibilities of color. Close to these in flavor and date are six photographs by Aaron Siskind.

The museum also owns a small number of works by contemporary artists who use photography as a means to an end as opposed to the photograph being an end in itself. These include the tortured images of Joel Peter Witkin; a staged mythical scene set by Diane Blell, and imaginative photogravures of Laurie Simmons. The separation between photography and other media is not as clear-cut as it once was now that more and more artists use the camera as a creative tool. For instance, the museum has a painted-over photograph by Arnulf Rainer which is listed on the inventory as a painting, and several pieces by Leslie Dill and Robert Rauschenberg that are listed as prints.



Pictures and information were provided by Chazen Museum of Art

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