Advisory Board

Image use
courtesy of the artist

  Saga: The Journey of Arno Rafael Minkkinen,
  Photographs 1970-2005

Curators: A. D. Coleman and Todd Brandow
Concept  |  Exhibition Calendar  |  Contents  |  Costs  |  Catalogue  |  Press Review

Photos of exhibition installation and inaugural event at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park

The substantial project that Minkkinen initiated shortly before the advent of postmodernism and has sustained through the present pertains to many of the movements and issues of contemporary art and photography, among them performance art and body art, the construction of identity, and the male nude. Cumulatively, however, his images also comprise an account of an epic journey - both a physical adventure in the natural and urban world and a psychological voyage of the lone human spirit. "Saga" explores all those facets of his work, clarifying its autobiographical aspect, its cross-cultural underpinnings, and its documentation of this artist's often high-risk physical adventures in the pursuit of his potent and memorable images.

To celebrate the duration of Minkkinen's project and to highlight its underlying mythic structure, co-curators A. D. Coleman and Todd Brandow have configured this 120-print selection from his oeuvre as a long, unified visual poem. In it, they bring together a distinctive mix of Minkkinen's iconic, immediately identifiable pictures, lesser-known pieces, and previously unpublished and unexhibited work presented here for the first time - including a generous selection of images produced from 2000 to the present. More than one-third of these works have not heretofore appeared anywhere.

This exhibition, which also functions as this artist's mid-career retrospective, represents the first comprehensive, large-scale overview of Minkkinen`s germinal and influential imagery from the last three and a half decades.

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Exhibition Calendar
Lincoln (Boston area) Mass. USA DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park September 9, 2005-Jan. 5, 2006
Bucharest, Rumania National Museum of Contemporary Art September 5, 2006-late October, 2006
Bratislava, Slovakia Palace of Art November 2, 2006-December 2, 2006
Salo, Finland Salon Taidemuseo January 20-April 4, 2007
Reggio Emilia, Italy Palazzo dei Principi April 30, 2008-June 15, 2008
Winnipeg, Canada Winnipeg Art Gallery November 13, 2008-January 25, 2009

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The essence of the show are 121 framed prints, outstanding images chosen from throughout the artist's 35 year career. 109 of these are 20" x 24" exhibition prints and 12 will be larger format mural size prints to introduce the different sections of the show.

The exhibition will organized along thematic lines with sections that have the following titles:
From the Water
Of the Hands
To the North
Along the Lakes
Toward the Forests
About the Cities
Among the Women
At the Ocean's Edge
Across the Desert
Through the Canyons
Within the Waters
At Home

We estimate that approximately 500 linear feet of wall space will be needed for this exhibition.

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A participation fee will be requested from each institution to help cover the expenses of organizing the exhibition. Overall sponsorship is being sought and if successful acquired, the fee will be reduced accordingly. Each museum will be expected to share in the expenses of transportation and transportation insurance on a pro-rated basis. Estimated costs are available upon request.

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A comprehensive, beautifully produced, high-quality catalogue has been published by Chronicle Books as the companion to the exhibition. Every effort has been made to reproduce the photographs as superbly rendered tritone plates in keeping with the quality of the original prints. A. D. Coleman has written the main text, with supplemental texts by Alan Lightman and Arthur Danto.

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Press Review

New York Times, 23 September 2005
New York Times, 30 September 2005
Boston Sunday Globe, 23 October 2005

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Biographical Information on Curators

A. D. Coleman is a prolific writer of photography history and criticism who has published widely since the 1960s. Born in 1943, he is based in New York City. During the 1960s and 1970s, Coleman was a regular columnist for the Village Voice, Popular Photography, The New York Times and Camera 35. His books include The Grotesque in Photography (1977), Light Readings: A Photography Critic's Writings (1979), Critical Focus: Photography in the International Community (1995) and The Digital Evolution: Photography in the Electronic Age, Essays, Lectures and Interviews, 1967-1997 (1998). Curatorial projects include "Testimonies: Photography and Social Issues" (Houston Fotofest International 1990) and SAGA: The Journey of Arno Rafael Minkkinen (FEP, 2005, co-curated with Todd Brandow). He received the first Art Critic's Fellowship ever awarded in photography by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1976, and a major Hasselblad Foundation Grant in 1991. A Fulbright Senior Scholar in Sweden in 1994, he received the prestigious Kulturpreis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Photographie (The Culture Award of the German Photographic Society) for 2002.

Todd Brandow worked as an art consultant in NY for many years. Since 1998, he has been living in Paris, working as a photography curator. He has co-produced and co-curated the highly successful Edward S. Curtis vintage exhibitions that have toured European museums since 2000, as well as the modern print Curtis shows that are presently touring Latin America sponsored by the US State Department. He also worked collaboratively with the Cologne-based SK Kultur Stiftung/August Sander Archive on a multi-media exhibition of work by William Christenberry. He is presently co-curating a major Edward Steichen traveling retrospective with William Ewing of the Musée de l’Elysée and a survey of jazz photography with Bob Shamis of the Museum of the City of NY and A. D. Coleman. He is the executive director of the American non-profit organization, the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP).

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