News Column

KMA opens Ansel Adams exhibit

January 25, 2014

By Amy McRary, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

Jan. 25 --The green, misty Smoky Mountains vexed legendary photographer Ansel Adams . Adams was already known for his black-and-white images of the vistas and rocky mountains of the American West when he spent about a week and a half in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall of 1948. The park was young; President Franklin Roosevelt had dedicated the land eight years earlier. It would be Adams' first and only recorded visit to Tennessee . He was in the hills to take photos as part of a Guggenheim Fellowship about America's national parks and monuments. It doesn't appear to have been his happiest assignment. "The Smokys (sic) are OK in their way but they are going to be devilish hard to photograph " he wrote in an Oct. 9, 1948 , letter from Gatlinburg . Adams took 47 black-and-white photographs of mountains and scenes in the park. But he only printed three. The Knoxville Museum of Art owns a print of one. It's a striking 14-by-19 study of a stand of trees on a mountain ridge entitled "Dawn, Autumn Forest , Great Smoky Mountains National Park ." Those images are included in the exhibit "Sight and Feeling: Photographs by Ansel Adams " opening Jan. 31 at the Knoxville Museum of Art . The exhibit in one of the museum's street-level galleries is at the 1050 World's Fair Park Drive museum through May 4 . Most of the photos in "Sight and Feeling" are made up of prints from the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan . Ranging in size, these images are "basically an overview of his career," said Knoxville Museum of Art Curator Stephen Wicks . The photographs were taken from 1920 to the 1960s and include scenes of locations in the American West. In addition to 23 prints from the Kalamazoo Institute , the Knoxville exhibit adds the three 1948 Smoky Mountain photographs printed by Adams. There's the museum's "Dawn" print and two loaned by the Tennessee State Museum . One shows trees is a misty setting; the other is a view of Mt. LeConte. But the exhibit isn't only about what photos hang on the museum wall. The museum will be showing digital images of Adams' entire Smoky Mountains catalog. It's the first time the public will be able to see all 47 images, Wicks said. The images aren't printed but shown on a flat screen at the museum. Thumbnail-size images also can be seen at the museum's website, www.knoxart.org . Those 47 images include a photo of the Smokies published in a book but never printed, Wicks said. Other than the three printed and fourth published photo, none of the 47 photos have been published or printed, he said. Wicks got permission to show the 47 images from the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust in Mill Valley, Calif. , and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Ariz. The photographs show that the places Adams visited in the Smokies included Cades Cove . His photos include scenes of The Chimneys, Mt. LeConte and a Cades Cove church and cemetery. Many are different views of trees, streams and mountains. Wicks said he wondered why Adams thought the Smokies a "devilish hard" subject. "My speculation was that he was troubled by the humidity, the vegetation and the conditions that were so different than what he was used to out west," said Wicks. That speculation was confirmed by a longtime studio assistant of Adams. "He saw it (photographing the Smokies) as a challenge," said Wicks. "I think that the images that he created were really amazing." 'Sight and Feelings: Photographs by Ansel Adams' What: Overview of famed photographer's works with rare Smokies photos Where: Knoxville Museum of Art , 1050 World's Fair Park Drive When: Jan. 31-May 4 ; museum open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday , 1-5 p.m. Sunday Admission: Free ___ (c)2014 the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.) Visit the Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tenn.) at www.knoxnews.com Distributed by MCT Information Services


For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)


Story Tools