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December 1, 2004

Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery Presents A Thousand Hounds: A Walk with the Dogs Through the History of Photography

UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents A Thousand Hounds: A Walk with the Dogs Through the History of Photography, on display from September 20 through December 11, 2004. The exhibition was organized by the Cygnet Foundation and curated by Ray Merritt and Miles Barth.

Photography has offered a means of documentation and expression for more than 160 years. 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 human and dog in more than 150 photographs and one 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, W.A. Mooers and Henry Fox Talbot, and from the twentieth century, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, 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.

Presented in two parts, its historical organization illuminates technological innovations, as well as cultural, sociological and aesthetic developments related to the medium, while contemporary work is organized thematically, with individual sections devoted to the notions of pathos, whimsy, elegance, companionship and inspiration.

The Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents a panel discussion for the exhibition at 4 p.m. November 15. Discussants will include curator Ray Merritt, photographer Keith Carter, and Tom Beck, the chief curator of the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery. A reception will follow. For more information, call 410-455-2270.

The local presentation of the exhibition is generously funded by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Friends of the Library & Gallery. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 4:30 p.m., on Thursday until 8 p.m., and Saturday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-455-2270.

Posted by dwinds1 at December 1, 2004 12:00 AM