Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew
July 21, 2016 – November 27, 2016
Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew is a series of portraits of members of the Klamath, Modoc, and Pit River Paiute tribes (tribes that were originally in California and southern Oregon). Drew was commissioned by a tribal mental health worker to photograph during several of intensive “talking circle” weekends in which participants recounted their experiences with racism, abuse, drug addiction, crime and tragedy. In their stories, Drew found connections to his own struggles with his identity as an African American. He was also drawn to the larger history of conflict between Native Americans and the United States government.
As Drew explains: "I am producing 5x7 tintypes of Klamath Falls tribes as part of a commission to redefine the tribal people in the area as no longer the victims of the injustices brought upon them by the U.S. government, but as strong and powerful people of today." By using the tintype process, a popular portrait medium in late nineteenth century America, Drew connects the past to the present and re-contextualizes contemporary Native Americans as the protagonists of their own stories.
Drew won the trust of Modoc tribe members when he ran fifteen miles alongside them (in sandals) during a relay race to Lava Beds National Monument, the site of the Modoc War (1872–73).
In addition to Drew's Native Portraits, CHS presents Sensational Portrayals of the Modoc War, 1872–73, an exhibition drawn from its collections of vintage photographs, newspapers, and books that often sensationalized the war, including carte de visite portraits by Louis Heller of Modoc Indians in custody following the war and stereographic views by Eadweard Muybridge (who was commissioned by the government to document the war) showing the desolate Lava Beds and picturing non-Modoc Indians reenacting battle scenes for his camera.
I See Beauty in This Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California
August 9, 2016 – October 1, 2016
Curated by Lisa M. Hamilton
Merced Multicultural Arts Center
645 W. Main Street, Merced, CA 95340
It is tempting to view California as a series of highways connecting San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento. In fact, these urban centers make up only a fraction of the whole; according to the 2010 Census, geographically the state of California is more than 94 percent rural. Surprise Valley, Lost Hills, Raisin City, Mecca—these are the communities that make up “the rest” of California.
Over many years, writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton has been telling the stories of these rural communities in her multimedia work Real Rural. For this exhibition she has delved into the collections of the California Historical Society to connect these present-day stories with the past. Featuring roughly 150 photographs, I See Beauty in This Life is a combination of large-scale color prints by Hamilton and her selections from California Historical Society's vast photography collections—material dating from the 1880s through the mid-twentieth century, much of which has never been exhibited before. Together they tell a complex—and sometimes humorous—story of the many different individual lives and landscapes comprising the vast mosaic that is the Golden State.
Photographing South of Market: Ira Nowinski and Janet Delaney
Ira Nowinski and Janet Delaney photographed San Francisco's South of Market in the 1970s and 1980s during a massive push to transform what was once a working class neighborhood and light industrial zone into the business and entertainment district it is today.
This installation is part of Neighborhood for Art, a self-guided walking tour celebrating the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's (SFMOMA) expansion and opening this May. Listen to Avery Trufelman, a producer with the design podcast "99% Invisible," as she leads an exploration of how SFMOMA fits into the neighborhood. Neighborhood for Art is available only through the SFMOMA app. Download it for free at sfmoma.org/app.
Art of the West Exhibition
The Autry in Griffith Park
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles
Free to California Historical Society Members
Visit the California Historical Society Gallery at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. The CHS Gallery is part of the permanent exhibition Art of the West , which showcases the dynamic and evolving world of art that springs from the cultural practices of some of the many peoples who have shaped the American West. The CHS Gallery features selections from CHS's fine arts and costumes collections that are permanently housed at the Autry. This collaboration has assured the exhibition and conservation of significant works of art from the CHS Collection by some of America's best known nineteenth and early twentieth-century artists (including Albert Bierstadt, James Walker, and Maynard Dixon) as well as turn-of-the-nineteenth-century costumes. The Art of the West exhibition is the first of its kind to explore how shared values and interests have inspired artists from different cultures and times to create distinctive, powerful works that speak to their experience of the West as both a destination and a home.