Lecture by Mark Steinmetz

Presented as part of the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program
April 2, 2013 7:00 pm

Knoxville, 1992

Timken Lecture Hall, San Francisco Campus
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Free and open to the public.

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Steinmetz's monochrome portraits are striking both for their understatement and for the way in which they imbue offhand moments with significance.

The photo series that made his name came about in 1996, when Steinmetz, a defiantly local photographer, decided to document the occupants of Jittery Joe's, a coffee shop in his hometown of Athens, Georgia.

Steinmetz's specialty is the hung narrative -- where are these people going? What are they thinking? This is made especially apparent in his images taken by highways. What is the squinting, baggy-eyed, but handsome youth doing on the interstate in "Off I-40, Knoxville"? He's wearing a dressy, countrified jacket and pencil tie, and looks completely out of place.

Similarly the bespectacled boy blowing bubble-gum, who sits beside the road in "Off Highway 441", North of Clayton, Georgia; the road becomes a metaphor for a life journey, destination unknown.

These are the looks of youths the world over. Is it something universal -- a product of adolescence itself? Or something learned from movies, magazines, and musicians? These images won't provide the answers; rather Steinmetz revels in images that stand at the very cusp of a question.

Steinmetz has received a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a Georgia Council for the Arts Grant, among other awards. His work is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Reader's Digest collection in Pleasantville, New Jersey.

Steinmetz has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Grand Central Terminal, New York; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Generous support for the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program is provided by the Pilara Foundation / Pier 24 and Randi & Bob Fisher. Additional support by the Black Dog Private Foundation.