This class will explore the theme of the vernacular through the lens of Walker Evans’s photographs. Evans was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, and his iconic work captured the spirit and character of America. Vernacular photography refers to ordinary photographs, such as snapshots, archival pictures, family albums, and scientific photographs, that we encounter in daily life. Along with his interest in these everyday photos, Evans was an avid collector of Americana, and recorded the American vernacular throughout his travels, photographing roadside attractions, storefronts, and signage across the country. From flea market heirlooms to hashtagged Instagram posts, vernacular culture continues to inspire a new generation of contemporary artists. Through talks and conversations with curators and artists, this class will examine the ways in which photography functions beyond mere representation to reveal the complex meanings behind images.
This class will include a visit to the galleries.
Clément Chéroux, senior curator of photography
Jerry L. Thompson, artist and former assistant to Walker Evans, with Reagan Louie, artist and professor at SFAI
Judy Fiskin, artist, with Linde B. Lehtinen, assistant curator of photography