The Walker Evans exhibit at the SFMOMA is ending its run this weekend. Frame-O-Rama's resident graphic designer, art lover, and show-goer, Albert Luera, visited the museum to check it out, both to take in and appreciate the art and to see how everything was displayed--we're a framing company after all. Here's what he came away with:
The SF MOMA’s Walker Evans exhibit is impressive in both its scope and subject matter. With over 300 photographs and more than 100 items, the show surrounds the viewer with images and objects of everyday life in postwar America. Walker Evans, in addition to being an influential photographer, was also an obsessive collector of everyday ephemera. The items he collected included roadside signage, postcards and movie posters. One of the aims photographic output was to highlight scenes of the minutiae of daily life. His photo subjects often include shots of advertisements, movie posters and hand painted signs. Walker’s collections are placed throughout the exhibit alongside his photos and provide immersive context to his life and his work. The expansive exhibit is organized thematically beginning with self portraits and moving through works ranging from hidden camera photos of subway passengers to very scientific shots of workshop tools. One of the most memorable sections is from Walker’s time working for the Farm Security Administration where he was tasked with documenting the plight of Southern Depression era sharecroppers.
From a framing perspective, it’s interesting to see how the curators were able to present everyday items as art. For example, small photo slides were framed with generous white mat surrounding them to draw the eye in and highlight the object as museum worthy. Several postcards were collected and framed with multi-opening mat displays meant to showcase the scope and variety of the collection. Most of the framing in the show consists of very stark, white or light cream mats paired with thin dark brown or black frames designed to never distract from the often black and white photography. Several of the framed pieces really pop against some of the blue walls in the exhibit.
Check out the Walker Evans exhibit on display at the SF MOMA before it closes February 4th. Due to the wide range of work covered and the sheer amount of items to see, I’d recommend visiting more than once to take it all in. But even once is enough to gain an appreciation of all the little things that surround us.
For information about the exhibit, visit the SFMOMA site, here: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibition/walker-evans/