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A Thousand Hounds: A Walk With the Dogs Through the History of Photography

September 20 - December 11, 2004.

Photography has offered a means of documentation and expression for more than 160 years now. Focusing on a seemingly obscure subject, curators Raymond Merritt and Miles Barth have unearthed a delightful and varied array of images in which the dog’s presence serves as a central trope in the history of the medium. A Thousand Hounds: A Walk with the Dogs Through the History of Photography is based in part on The Cygnet Foundation’s popular and critically acclaimed book of the same title, which, when it was released by Taschen in 2000, was announced as “a completely original history of photography told through images of canines.”

The exhibition celebrates the endearing and enduring partnership between man and dog in over 150 photographs and 1 photographic sculpture, which date from 1840 to the current day and have been created by both masters of the medium and lesser-known practitioners. Among the noted artists included from the nineteenth century are Gustav Le Gray and William Henry Fox Talbot, and from the twentieth century, Margaret Bourke-White, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Paul Strand, and Weegee. Also prominently featured are works by contemporary artists, including William Wegman, Elliott Erwitt, and Keith Carter, all renowned for their images of dogs, as well as by Larry Clark, Robert Frank, Ralph Gibson, Sally Mann, Vik Muniz, and Sandy Skoglund. The exhibition is serious and scholarly in its considered presentation of the dog’s place in momentous historical and cultural events of the past century and a half, ranging from polar expeditions to the Great Depression to the World Wars. It is also light-hearted and engaging in its celebration of photographers’ longstanding artistic interest in the canine as model, muse, and metaphor.

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