Arts & Culture

Get a Rare Glimpse of Walker Evans’ Work

Make plans now to see one of the biggest exhibits ever mounted of the storied lensman’s photographs

 

During his lifetime, which covered nearly three-fourths of the twentieth century, Walker Evans photographed roadsides, faces, and objects. But what he really revealed was the American vernacular—the everyday life that exposes the country’s resilient spirit. This common strength is seen best, perhaps, in Evans’ efforts to document the effect of the Great Depression on Southern families with James Agee, in what would become their book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. In Hale County, Alabama, Evans made subjects such as Allie Mae Burroughs and her family into indomitable symbols of their time.

Beginning September 30, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will host the only American showing of one of the world’s largest Walker Evans exhibits, consisting of more than 300 prints and 100 objects and documents that illustrate Evans’ career in the South and beyond. Can’t make it to California before the exhibit closes in February? View the slideshow below to see some of Evans’ transformative works.

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Roadside Stand Near Birmingham/Roadside Store Between Tuscaloosa and Greensboro, Alabama, 1936.

photo: Walker Evans - Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Allie Mae Burroughs, Wife of a Cotton Sharecropper, Hale County, Alabama, 1936.

photo: © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Floyd and Lucille Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama, 1936.

photo: Walker Evans - Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Resort Photographer at Work, Florida, 1941.

photo: Walker Evans - Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Self-Portrait, 1927.

photo: Walker Evans - collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sidewalk and Shopfront, New Orleans, 1935.

photo: Walker Evans - collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Willard Van Dyke; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Truck and Sign, 1928–30.

photo: Walker Evans - private collection, San Francisco; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“The Pitch Direct. The Sidewalk Is the Last Stand of Unsophisticated Display,” Fortune 58, no. 4, October 1958.

photo: Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Collection of David Campany; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York