Photos: Frist Art Museum’s ‘Image Building’ exhibition explores changing implications of architecture


Exhibition preview attendees discuss the architectural photography at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday, July 19, 2018. (MTSU Sidelines / Karly Cordell)

Story and photos by Karly Cordell / Contributing Writer

Therese Lichtenstein, curator of the “Image Building” exhibition, led the exhibition’s preview on Thursday at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

Frist Art Museum’s “Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture” features artistic and documentary images of iconic modern architecture by photographers from the United States and Europe. The photographs featured in the exhibition convey how symbolic and cultural readings of the built environment have changed from the 1930s to the present.

Showcasing 57 different pieces, the photographs in the exhibition explore the social, psychological and conceptual implications of architecture through the subjective interpretation of those who portrayed it in both film and digital media.

Organized thematically from “Cityscapes, Domestic Spaces and Public Places,” one of the main goals of the exhibition is to take a closer look at the relationship between contemporary and historical approaches to photographing buildings in urban, suburban and rural environments with a focus on looking at the influences, similarities and differences.

Lichtenstein describes the photograph selection as a very long process.

“I had hundreds and hundreds of photographs and many more photographers, so I really had to narrow it down,” Lichtenstein said. “What I intended to do was to create an environment that isn’t organized in a way that is chronologically in order. It’s about being able to move back and forth between time periods and between different thematics.”

“You start to think about how the photographs have a dialogue,” Lichtenstein said. “It kind of raises your consciousness and makes you not only highly aware of the architecture but of the photography and the way the photographs give us an understanding of place.”

One of Lichtenstein’s goals for the Image Building exhibition was to keep the exhibition diverse.

“I wanted it to be global, and I also wanted it to be a dialogue between photographers and architectures from the past in relations to photographers and architectures from the present or mid-century,” Lichtenstein said.

Image Building features work by contemporary photographers including Iwan Baan, Lewis Baltz, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Stephen Shore and Hiroshi Sugimoto and earlier modernist architectural photographers like Berenice Abbott, Samuel Gottscho, Julius Shulman and Ezra Stoller.

“My main goal is to introduce people to the different kind of attitudes towards photograph and architecture,” Lichtenstein said.

Lichtenstein also organized “Twilight Visions: Surrealism, Photography, and Paris” for the Frist in 2009.

The Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture exhibition is available for public view from July 20 through October 28, 2018, in the Frist Art Museum’s upper-level galleries in Nashville, Tennessee.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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