Sally Mann is one of the best known and most accomplished photographers working in America today.
BY Richard Chang
Yet most Americans associate her name with one body of work done 30 years ago.
The portraits of her own children — still elementary school age or younger — are what people recognize; her practice of photographing them nude, sometimes in alluring or even abused-looking poses, made her notorious for a time.
Critics, some of them politicians, decried her work as child pornography and accused her of exploiting her children for her career. Supporters, reviewers and curators saw more depth and nuance in the pictures.
A new exhibition touches upon this body of work but expands much further into Mann’s oeuvre. Through Feb. 10, the Getty Center in West Los Angeles is showcasing “Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings.” The exhibition features more than 110 of Mann’s photographs covering over four decades, from the 1980s to the present.
Organizers say it is the first major survey of Mann’s to travel internationally, as well as the first to investigate how the photographer’s relationship with her native land, the American South, has shaped her work.
After the Getty, “A Thousand Crossings” goes on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from March 3 to May 27. Then it travels to the Jeu de Paume in Paris, June 17 to Sept. 22. It concludes at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Oct. 19 to Jan. 12, 2020.
The survey was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
The show is extensive and the photographs — many quite large — are divided into five sections: Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me and What Remains.
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