Art/ Collection/ Art Object

[Billboard, Birmingham, Alabama]

Artist:
Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)
Date:
1936
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 7 1/2 × 9 7/16 in. (19.1 × 24 cm) Sheet: 7 1/2 × 9 7/16 in. (19.1 × 24 cm)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.1169
Rights and Reproduction:
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Not on view
Evans was one of the first photographers to document the roadside as a site for the radical transformation of American culture. For Evans, the billboard, with its movie-screen scope and alluring, surreal juxtapositions, was the quintessential expression of the emerging media culture. In his deceptively straightforward picture, the artist creates a new ironic reading for the billboard. This hand-painted version of the American dream home, with its bizarre disjunctions in scale, skewed perspective, and mannequin-like figures, seems to have communicated in spite of itself how strange and unreal the promise of luxury and comfort must have seemed to the rural poor victimized by the Depression.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, subsequently erased, verso C: "Ra 8091A"
Photo Technique, (late 1940s); Mrs. Broward, (an editor's daughter); Bill Tomlonson, (a collector); Pace/MacGill

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. "Walker Evans - Dan Graham," August 29, 1992–October 11, 1992.

Musée Cantini. "Walker Evans - Dan Graham," November 6, 1992–January 10, 1993.

Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte. "Walker Evans - Dan Graham," January 31, 1993–March 21, 1993.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 10," August 28, 1995–November 13, 1995.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Walker Evans," February 1, 2000–May 14, 2000.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Walker Evans," June 2, 2000–September 12, 2000.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Walker Evans," December 17, 2000–March 4, 2001.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 38," June 29, 2004–September 26, 2004.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 47," September 20, 2007–January 6, 2008.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.

Sekula, Allan, Jean-François Chevrier, and Benjamin H.D. Buchloh. Walker Evans & Dan Graham. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1992. p. 92.



This photograph was made while Evans was under Federal contract to the Resettlement (later the Farm Security) Administration. The verso inscription is the Resettlement Administration (RA) file number assigned to this 8x10" negative. The inscription indicates that the print is an early RA/FSA print not made by Evans. The negative dates from March [?] 1936 before Evans' collaboration with James Agee in Alabama on what would later become Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Photo Technique merged with American Photography magazine in the late 1940s.
Related Objects

[Roadside Furniture Store Sign Near Birmingham, Alabama]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1936 Medium: Film negative Accession: 1994.258.422 On view in:Not on view

[Roadside Furniture Store Sign Near Birmingham, Alabama]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1936 Medium: Film negative Accession: 1994.258.423 On view in:Not on view

Billboard, Birmingham, Alabama

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1936 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 1994.261.198 On view in:Not on view

[Liz and Michael Lesy]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: 1973–74 Medium: Instant color print Accession: 2015.771.21 On view in:Not on view

[Walker Evans's Foot]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut) Date: September 27, 1974 Medium: Instant color print Accession: D.1994.262.1009 On view in:Not on view