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Vivian Maier Through A Critical Lens Exhibit

  • Des Moines Art Center
  • Address: 4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312
  • September 17, 2016 - January 22, 2017
  • see description for hours
  • Price: Free

HOURS: Monday - CLOSED; Tuesdays/Wednesdays 11am - 4pm; Thursdays 11am - 9pm; Fridays 11am - 4pm; Saturdays 10am - 4pm; Sundays 12 - 4pm.

This exhibition features 70 photographs (50 black-and-white and 20 color prints) of people encountered on the streets of New York City and Chicago by the late photographer Vivian Maier (1926 – 2009). Maier’s photographs, created between the late 1940s and the early 1980s, were kept completely private by the artist and caused a stir when they were first exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2011. Elusive, solitary, and clearly talented, Vivian Maier is the quintessential “undiscovered” artist of our time.

The still unfolding narrative of who Vivian Maier was as well as the story about how the works were discovered—at a storage facility auction— continue to dominate the discussions about Maier’s work. In fact, with the exception of a short article by art historian Abigail Solomon-Godeau commissioned by the Jeu de Paume, there have not yet been any systematic investigations of Maier’s archive resulting in vetted scholarship. As a result, there are still many questions to be raised and discussions to be had about Maier’s photographs. While presenting Maier’s striking and popular works, the Art Center will pose questions and facilitate discussions about her photography, and in so doing introduce the considerations that are made about newly found art works that result in the acceptance—or not—into the history of art. The Art Center has also invited the distinguished art historian John Tagg, one of the most recognized figures in photographic theory, to speculate about Maier’s work in light of his scholarship, which he will share in a lecture in October.

Vivian Maier Through A Critical Lens Exhibit