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Reading

André Kertész: On Reading

First published in 1971 and long out of print, these photos of people caught in the act of reading is reborn in a handsome new edition curated by Robert Gurbo.

Book Digest The ubiquity of digital cameras and the avalanche of images whose lives are wholly lived on hard drives, as well as other aspects of 21st-century visual aesthetics, make black-and-white photography seem like some arcane ritual practiced in far-off time by god-artists named Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, and André Kertész. In his day, Kertész was a key participant in making the then-new highly portable 35mm rangefinders an indispensable instrument in the liberation of photography from fixed, large-format pachyderms. In fact, Cartier-Bresson once said of himself and fellow photographers Robert Capa and Brassaï: “Whatever we have done, Kertész did first.”

In his career, which spanned from 1920 to 1970, Kertész collected photographs in Hungary, France, and the United States of scenes depicting reading. First published in 1971 and long out of print, On Reading brings new life to those 65 photographs in a handsome, reformatted new edition curated by Robert Gurbo. An exhibit of the photos recently departed Chicago and is now on its way to Portland, Maine, and points beyond:
  • Aug. 30 to Nov. 16, 2008: Portland Museum of Art (Portland, Maine)
  • Jan. 23 to March 22, 2009: Grand Rapids Art Museum (Grand Rapids Mich.)
  • Sept. 12 to Dec. 31, 2009: Cornell Fine Arts Center (Winter Park, Fla.)
  • Feb. 20 to April 18, 2010: Cannon Art Gallery (Carlsbad, Calif.)
  • Oct. 23 to Dec. 19, 2010: Fresno Metropolitan Museum (Fresno, Calif.)
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