The View from Here

January 16–June 27, 2010

Just as photography has been instrumental in shaping California’s popular image, the state — and San Francisco, in particular — has played a key role in the history of photography as an art form. Reflecting this unusually symbiotic relationship, SFMOMA was one of the first museums in the country to treat photography as an equal to painting and sculpture. In celebration of the museum’s 75 years of engagement with the medium, this exhibition explores the variety and vitality of California’s photographic tradition from the 1840s to the present. Drawn from the SFMOMA collection, it includes Gold Rush-era daguerreotypes and early panoramas of San Francisco, pictures by members of the influential Group f.64, street and documentary photographs, conceptual work from the 1970s, and contemporary photographs. Artists include Ansel Adams, Lewis Baltz, Dorothea Lange, Ed Ruscha, Larry Sultan, Carleton Watkins, Carrie Mae Weems, and many others.

The View From Here is presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of 75 Years of Looking Forward, a series of exhibitions and events organized in celebration of the museum’s anniversary. Major support is provided by the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund. Additional support is provided the George Frederick Jewett Foundation, Kate and Wesley Mitchell, and The Black Dog Private Foundation.

Larry Sultan, photograph of mother standing up and father watching tv
Lewis Baltz, black and white photo of sidewalk and street wall
Ansel Adams, black and white photograph of Yosemite
Dorothea Lange, photo of four men in hats and suits
Henry Wessel, photo of shirtless man in front of motel
William Garnett, photo arial view of CA landscape

Larry Sultan, My Mother Posing for Me, from the series Pictures from Home, 1984; collection SFMOMA, purchased through a gift of Rene di Rosa and Diane and Charles Frankel; © Larry Sultan

Lewis Baltz, Fairfax, from the series Prototype Works, 1973; promised gift of Paul Sack to the Sack Photographic Trust; © Lewis Baltz

Ansel Adams, Clouds, from Tunnel Overlook, Yosemite National Park, California, ca. 1934; collection SFMOMA, gift of Mrs. Walter A. Haas; © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Dorothea Lange, San Francisco Strike, 1933; collection SFMOMA, The Henry Swift Collection, gift of Florence Alston Swift; Oakland Museum of California, the City of Oakland, gift of Paul S. Taylor

Henry Wessel, Southern California, 1985; collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund Purchase; © Henry Wessel

William A. Garnett, Contour Graded Hills, Ventura County, California, 1953; collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund Purchase; © Estate of William A. Garnett