Historical Journal

Journal Archives, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archives, Reviews

George Krause: A Retrospective (1960-1982)

January 8, 1982
Judith Stein

A writer and curator, studied at Barnard College, and has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). Her curatorial projects include Red Grooms, A Retrospective, for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Figurative Fifties, New York School Figurative Expressionism, co-curated with Paul Schimmel. Her exhibition, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995, and earned a best catalogue award from AICA/USA. Her articles, interviews and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Art News, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Among her honors is a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a Pew Fellowship for literary non-fiction; and a Lannan Foundation writing residency in Marfa, Texas.

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“buries in our memory what we see in the world but don’t notice, what we feel about life and death but haven’t been able to visualize.”*

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Morris Gallery

January 8, 1982 through February 21, 1982
Morris Gallery exhibitions are partially and generously funded by a grant from the Rohm and Haas Company
In Portfolio 1960-70, people are presented as individuals, alone with themselves and their feelings: a sulky child curls up in the rigid lap of a statue of Alice in Wonderland; a young boy Is caught in a moment of private delight as he interrupts and merges with the cascading fountains which front the Philadelphia Museum of Art; a gentle, stoop shouldered crone is unknowingly stalked by the horrific specter of her own shadow as she walks down an empty street. The blond child in Elephant Girl, 1965 turns her back to us as she faces the steady stare of an elephant. Like the girl seen from behind in Stairs, 1961, she is the viewer’s stand — we both look at her and join her in regarding the taciturn animals.
Krause’s silver prints are unusual for the quantity and quality of handwork the artist requires to achieve his desired images. During the developing process, he paints each print with a variety of toners, and uses bleaches and intensifiers to coax subtle contrasts and rich shades and tones to emerge.
The Qui Riposa series, shot in cemeteries in San Francisco, dwells on close up details of marble tomb sculpture and faded photographs of the departed. Saints and Martyrs is a series of photographs taken in the basement vaults of Indo Hispanic churches in Mexico and South America. Here Krause found a variety of hand carved saints who rest in coffins or cry out in the agony of their martyrdom. Recorded in situ, some of these veristic images have the poignancy of corpses as we see them wrapped in cellophane or ornamented with medallions.
If Krause’s vision can bring life and death to carved statues, it also can present the live human body as an artifact. Frequently, there are religious overtones in his seemingly secular subjects. In Levitation, from the i Nudi series, Krause appears to have borrowed the pose and angle of Mantegna’s Dead Christ for a lifeless female nude who reposes against the landscape of an unmade bed. A religious aura is conveyed by the luminous band of axial light which swells out from behind the slightly opened shutters. In Veiled Woman, his mysterious nude model regards us directly from under black netting. Curiously, the veil falls downward from her head in a large triangular fold, the apex of which contains her one visible eye. Is it by chance that this compositional device resembles the traditional symbol of the eye within the triangle, used to suggest God’s infinite holiness?
Krause’s early, small scale prints, and his more recent large format ones are the work of an artist who is both a virtuoso technician and meditative poet. In the words of his colleague Arno Minkkinen, Krause’s camera “buries in our memory what we see in the world but don’t notice, what we feel about life and death but haven’t been able to visualize.”*
Judith Stein, Coordinator, Morris Gallery
*Minkkinen’s essay on Krause will be included In the forthcoming survey, Contemporary Photographers, George Walsh, ad., (London: St. James Press, 1982).

Artist Biography
George Krause was born in Philadelphia on January 24, 1937 and received his primary art education at the Philadelphia College of Art from 1954 to 1957. At present a Professor and Head of Photography in the Department of Art, University of Houston, Krause has taught photography at Brooklyn College, Bucks County Community College, and at the Fleisher Art Memorial, where he initiated the program. In 1979, he served as Director of the Venice Photographic Biennale.
His grants and awards include the following: a Fulbright Hays Fellowship (1963); Guggenheim Fellowships (1967, 1976-77); National Endowment for the Arts awards (1972, 1979-80); Prix de Rome (1976-77); Photographer in Residence, American Academy in Rome, Italy (1979-80). Krause’s photographs are represented in the permanent collections of: Museum of Modern Art, New York; George Eastman House, Rochester; Library of Congress, D.C.; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, to cite only a few.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Museo, de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela, 1970, 1974; Pennsylvania State University, 1972; George Eastman House, Rochester, 1972; Witkin Gallery, New York, 1972, 1978; Photopia Gallery, Philadelphia, 1974, 1976; Philadelphia, Print Club, 1975; Afterimage, Dallas, 1976; American Academy in Rome, 1977, 1980; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, 1978; Milwaukee Center for Photography, 1979; Mancini Gallery, Houston, 1980; Hills Gallery, Denver, 1980.
Selected Group Exhibitions
Five Unrelated Photographers, Museum of Modern Art, 1963; The Photographer’s Eye, Museum of Modern Art, 1964; Five Young Americans, Museum of Modern Art Traveling Exhibition, 1971; Photography In America, Whitney Museum of Art, 1975; Galveston Art Museum, Galveston, 1977; Mirrors and Windows, Museum of Modern Art, 1978; Self as Subject, Scudder Gallery, Durham, New Hampshire, 1979.
George Krause’s work Is shown through the courtesy of the David Mancini Gallery, Philadelphia/Houston. The photographs on exhibition In the Morris Gallery were selected from four series: the two published portfolios, Portfolio 1960-1970, and Saints and Martyrs; Qui Riposa; and i Nudi. A price list of the work for sale is available at the Academy Shop.
The Morris Gallery displays the works of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Academy. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Bo Bartlett, Murray Dessner, Walter Erlebacher, Janet Kardon, Charles Mather, III, Dr. Perry Ottenberg, David Pease, Ann Percy, Jody Pinto, Jim Repenning, Rachel Seymour, Acey Wolgin; and Academy staff Richard Boyle, Frank Goodyear, Kathy Foster, Linda Bantell, Judith Stein.
Copyright Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1982

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