A city’s character is defined by movement as well as the relationship between spaces and the people that inhabit them. What is a city sidewalk, for instance, without its pedestrians? What is a passerby, without a crowd? What is a dance hall, without musicians? Photography is ideally suited to capture the dynamism of urban life and the changing face of cityscapes. In Streetview, black-and-white photographs capture the myriad experiences of 20th-century metropolitan centers. Despite changing attitudes toward living there, the city is still conceived in America and abroad as a locus of identity. As we move into the 21st-century, the city continues to fashion itself as a place of motion, speed, and diversity. Streetview is composed of four parts. The first section of Streetview features photographs that highlight the architecture of cities. From street level, one can look up and see dizzying skylines; one can look downward, and see pavement and people passing. The second section seeks to explore how city dwellers enter into a conversation with these environs. Movement in public spaces creates shared experience; yet, somehow, people feel alone when surrounded by anonymous masses. The third section shows urban centers in their nocturnal aspect, when people gather for entertainment and pleasure after the hustle and bustle of the day. In the fourth and last section, a city is not just an adult’s world, but also a place where generations of children and adolescents come of age. In their eyes, a city is a playground of sidewalks and moments that captivate the imagination. The creation of Streetview marks the first time that social media has been used to determine the content of an art exhibition at the Claremont Colleges. Members of the community voted on their favorite art object in the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery’s permanent collection through social networking websites. Voters chose Helen Levitt’s New York, New York as their favorite work to be the cornerstone of this exhibition, which is curated by Wilson and Turk interns at the Williamson Gallery and Scripps’ first-year student Alexa Zilberfarb. In Levitt’s image of a group of young girls on a sidewalk and bubbles hovering nearby, the student curators found inspiration for the themes explored in Streetview. All photographs displayed belong to the Scripps College Permanent Collection. The student curators who wrote wall texts for the exhibition are Julia Berryman ’12 (J.B.), Tara Contractor ’13 (T.C.), Alicia Hendrix ’12 (A.H.), Catherine Parker Sweatt ’12 (C.S.), Alexa Zilberfarb ’14 (A.Z.), and Sara Zuniga ’12 (S.Z.). Other interns who contributed wall texts to Streetview are Megan Downing ’08, Wilson Intern 2007-2008; Amy Vasquez ’09, Wilson Intern 2008-2009; and Jennie Waldow ’12, Wilson Intern 2009-2010.
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Black and White Print on paper
20th c America Photography
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