Museum of Art to feature ‘Ways of Seeing: Four Photography Collections OPENS JANUARY 20, 2024

SANTA FE — Showcasing recent donations to the New Mexico Museum of Art collection and highlighting individual approaches to collecting art, Ways of Seeing includes nearly 40 photographs ranging from a 1903 photogravure by Gertrude Käsebier to a 2013 pigment print by local artist Anthony O’Brien.The selections from three groups of recent donations and one promised gift will be on view from Jan. 20 through June 16, 2024. 

“Ways of Seeing is an interesting study of taste and the profound reasons why collectors select objects for their personal collections,” the museum’s Executive Director Mark A. White said. “In addition, the exhibition is an important reminder of how collectors have shaped and grown the photography collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art.” 

Photographer and photo dealer Donald B. Moritz began collecting photographs in the mid-1980s, working directly with the artists he admired to amass a holding of primarily black-and-white prints. He met one of them, longtime New Mexico photographer David Michael Kennedy, when taking a class at the Santa Fe Workshops. Struck by the beauty of Kennedy’s work, Moritz quickly became one of the El Rito artist’s major collectors. In 2022, Moritz donated Kennedy’s portfolio of cloud studies and four additional photographs, all on view. 

New Yorker W.M. Hunt chose a thematic approach to acquiring photographs. “Photography changed my life; it gave me one,” Hunt says in The Unseen Eye. The 2011 publication documents Hunt’s extensive collection of images from across the history of photography in which the eyes of the subject are hidden or obscured. Eight photographs from Hunt’s donation will be on view, by artists Adam Fuss, Debbie Fleming Caffery, Inge Morath and Saul Steinberg, Ruth Thorne Thomsen, Arthur Tress, Gerald Slota, Minor White, and Joel-Peter Witkin. 

Painter Jamie Brunson donated seven photographs to the museum from a collection she assembled with her former husband, the late art historian and teacher Mark Levy, while living in Berkeley, California. The two were drawn to large-scale, contemporary photographs of the 1980s and 1990s, particularly those alluding to human interactions with the environment and those that reflected their interests in meditation and the concept of the void. The group is comprised of work by Tom Baril, Jeff Brouws, Kevin Bubriski, Edward Burtynsky, William Claxton, Richard Misrach, and John Pfahl.  

Another couple, Caroline Burnett and her late husband William, also shared the adventure of collecting photographs. In 1992, Bill gave Caroline a print of an Arnold Newman’s photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe at Ghost Ranch, as a reminder of their hike to the summit of Pedernal. The two moved to Santa Fe in 2001, and continued collecting photographs that touched their hearts and often feature a sense of serenity. After Bill’s death, Caroline continued to shape the collection and established it as a promised gift to the museum. On loan for this exhibition are gems by Ruth Bernhard, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Harry Callahan, Kenro Izu, Gertrude Käsebier, local photographer Anthony O’Brien, Sebastião Salgado, Alfred Stieglitz, and Todd Webb.

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