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Timothy H. O'Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs

Event Details

Timothy H. O'Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs

Time: November 7, 2011 to January 15, 2012
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago
Street: 111 South Michigan Avenue
City/Town: Chicago, Illinois
Website or Map:
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Latest Activity: Nov 7, 2011

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Event Description

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (1840–1882) was one of the most important American photographers of the nineteenth century.

O’Sullivan’s work in the King Survey—which covered an 800-mile-long swath of land, roughly straddling the path of the transcontinental rail route, from southern Wyoming to the California line—is of particular importance to his career and to the history of American photography. His photographs of barren landscapes, notable or curious geological formations, and mining operations represent a raw, powerful vision of this little-understood territory increasingly occupied by white Americans. In addition, these images have remained challenging touchstones in photographic history—a perfect, if enigmatic, union of documentary and artistic intentions, fact and interpretation. While a few of these images have been widely reproduced, original prints are remarkably rare. Timothy H. O’Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs includes photographs contextualized with contemporaneous survey reports and topographical and geological atlases that show visual depictions of the land across media.

This exhibition has been organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In Chicago, this exhibition is made possible by the Smart Family Foundation.


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