John Gossage: The Pond Opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

“John Gossage: The Pond” open Aug. 27 – Jan. 17, 2011, celebrates the recent gift to the Smithsonian American Art Museum of this remarkable photographic series and the re-issue of one of the most influential photography books of the past three decades.

John Gossage, Untitled, from The Pond, 1985. Gelatin silver print. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of anonymous donors, 2007.40.27

John Gossage (b. 1946) photographed a small, unnamed pond between Washington, D.C., and Queenstown, Md., from 1981 to 1985. The title recalls Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, but Gossage advocated a more allembracing view of the landscape, exploring the less idealized spaces that border America’s cities and suburbs.

Although many of the images in “The Pond” appear unruly or uncared for, Gossage found moments of grace and elegance in even the most mundane of places.

The complete portfolio of “The Pond” was acquired by the museum in 2007. This exhibition marks the first time the complete series of 52 gelatin silver prints has been on public display. Gossage lives and works in the Kalorama neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Toby Jurovics, curator of photography, is the curator of the installation.

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