Upcoming Exhibition

April Dawn Alison

July 6–December 1, 2019

Floor 3

Entry to this exhibition is included with general admission.

This exhibition draws from a trove of approximately 9,200 Polaroids by April Dawn Alison, the private persona of an Oakland-based commercial photographer known to family, friends, and neighbors as Alan Shaefer (1941–2008). The photographs were made over the course of more than thirty years, and discovered upon the artist’s death. These extraordinary pictures—virtually all of them self-portraits — explore a wide range of feminine archetypes drawn from advertising, motion pictures, and fetish and pornographic imagery, revealing a rich inner life filled with as much humor as pathos, as much joy as loneliness. Together they constitute an intimate personal archive documenting a fully realized self, unseen by others. Posed in the safety of her home, Alison presents herself in her full beauty and humanity in a way she may not have felt free to do in the world, even here in the Bay Area.

Exhibition Preview

April Dawn Alison, Untitled, n.d.; collection SFMOMA, gift of Andrew Masullo

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