Artist Talk

Jeff Wall on Walker Evans

Related Exhibition Walker Evans, Part of Artist Talks

Thursday, December 7, 2017
6:30 p.m.

Phyllis Wattis Theater

This event has come and gone.

Walker Evans, Subway Portrait, 1938–41; collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Canadian artist Jeff Wall is widely recognized as an innovative picture-maker who draws on the history of painting and film to create dynamic, theatrical works. But the creative lineage of photography remains a primary source of inspiration—especially the work of Walker Evans. Wall references Evans frequently in writings and interviews, and he even included Evans prints in his own 2011 retrospective, The Crooked Path. Wall is especially interested in Evans’s definition of the documentary style, his work for Fortune magazine, and his landmark 1938 exhibition. For this event, Wall joins Senior Curator of Photography Clément Chéroux in conversation about SFMOMA’s current Evans exhibition, Evans’s legacy, and the meaning of that legacy for Wall’s art.

SFMOMA co-organized a traveling retrospective of Wall’s photographs in 2007, and works such as In front of a nightclub (2006)—a promised gift—have become iconic for visitors to this museum. Wall is currently one of SFMOMA’s artist trustees.

Jeff Wall on Walker Evans Artist Talk

Walker Evans captured the spirit of America through his powerful photographs of roadside attractions, postcards, storefronts, and signage across the country. This talk, originally presented on December 12, 2017, features a wide-ranging conversation between photographer Jeff Wall and exhibition curator Clément Chéroux.

Walker Evans and the American Vernacular

Walker Evans photographed the American vernacular, revealing the language of everyday life found in roadside attractions, postcards, storefronts, and signage across the country. These stories provide deeper insight into the photographer’s uncanny understanding of twentieth-century America.