The works in this exhibition collectively suggest Day's evolution as a social and artistic persona at the core of the fin-de-siecle culture in Boston.
Fred Holland Day (1864-1933) was born, raised, and died in Norwood, Massachusetts. He attended the esteemed Boston school Chauncy Hall and maintained an apartment and workspace in that city during his years as a publisher of finely crafted books and as an artistic photographer.
By 1900 Day had established a lively international reputation in Pictorialism, the movement whereby aesthetically motivated photographers sought to put the new medium on an equal footing with other forms of visual expression. Day argued that, when produced by an artist, camera-made pictures were legitimate rivals of other monochrome works on paper.
Making a Presence shows Day's efforts as a model in his own art and examines his collaborative attitude when his peersphotographed him. The installation ranges from the works in which he took the part of Jesus Christ to the insightful portraits of him by Gertrude Kasëbier, Edward Steichen, Frederick Evans, and others. The project's centerpiece echoes the inspired and surprising display that Day presented to the public in 1902: an exhibition of over fifty pictures of himself taken by "a few leaders in the newer photographic methods."
Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography was curated by Trevor Fairbrother and was organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. Generous support for this exhibition and publication is provided by the Winton Family Exhibitions Fund, Nancy B. Tieken, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc., the William E. Weiss Foundation, Richard and Terry Albright, and by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. At Bowdoin, the exhibition is supported by the Becker Fund for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Stevens L. Frost Endowment Fund, and the Lowell Innes Fund.
Lecture, F. Holland Day and William Wegman: An Unlikely Combination
September 20, 2012
7:00 p.m. - Beam Classroom, Visual Arts Center
Trevor Fairbrother, Independent CuratorRespondent: Libby Bischof, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Southern Maine
Trevor Fairbrother is the curator of Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography. In Fairbrother's interpretation, F. Holland Day appears as a distant ancestor of William Wegman, with whom he shares a penchant for costumes, oblique literary references, and wry humor.