They’re all there: Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston and Joel Sternfield. From Tuesday, Albertina will be showing “American Photography” in Bastille and leaving very little behind. 190 works by 33 photographers from eight decades. “It’s a unique exhibition” Albertina General Manager Klaus Albrecht Schroeder was excited during Monday’s press tour.
Schroeder described the re-creation of the photo collection as one of the first initiatives of his tenure. Until then, one of the focal points was American photography, which was expanded by the acquisition of the Essl and Jablonka collections. “This was a great starting point. However, we had loopholes. Ambassador Trevor D. Traina’s group shut them out nicely.”
“I said: Choose what you want!” Trina said with a smile about the selection process. The tech entrepreneur and philanthropist was the US ambassador to Austria from 2018 until the beginning of this year and has been impressed by Albertina’s photo collection. “In my opinion, no museum is complete these days if it does not also have a comprehensive collection of pictures.” He displays the evolution of photography from documentation to comprehensive amalgamation in the arts, not least, his large collection, the Schroeder Collection as one of the most important related private collections was honored. 50 works from the Traina Collection now complete the 140 images from the Museum’s holdings in exhibition.
Lisette Model of Vienna and her students Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon were at the start of a comprehensive show cycle from the 1930s to the 2000s praising the American way of life in many different situations. Walter Moser named Albertina curator Walker Evans a key figure in this context. “His intent to make everyday things visible is still formative to this day.” Street photography, consumer culture, and the darker side of the “American Dream” can be found in a variety of situations.
“America is so complex, it’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time,” Trina said. “There are wealth and poverty and confidence and gloom side by side.” “I hope this exhibition will give visitors a deeper understanding of how complex this country is.” Schroeder emphasized that the excellent accompanying catalog could do just that: “I can only advise you: Read these texts!”
(Service – “American Photography”, exhibition in Bastihal in Albertina, from August 24 to November 28, daily from 10 am to 6 pm, catalog: € 29.90.)