Elliott Erwitt’s ‘Dog Dogs’ will have its day at the Kimball Art Center
Ryan Summerlin May 23, 2014
Canines will have their day when "Dog Dogs," a black-and-white exhibit comprised of works by French photographer Elliott Erwitt, opens at the Kimball Art Center during the Park City Gallery Associations monthly Gallery Stroll on May 30.
The 65 photographs will adorn the KAC’s Main Gallery and will be on display through Aug. 10.
Erwitt is one of the leaders in the field of magazine photography, and is known for his journalistic essays, illustrations and advertisements, said Claire Pfluger, Kimball Art Center exhibitions coordinator.
"He is very well known for the work he did commercially and for some of his documentary works," Pfluger told The Park Record. "He is such a wonderful photographer. He is very ironic and funny in his works, and we thought ‘Dog Dogs’ would be a fun show for us this summer."
The photographs are culled from Erwitt’s career that started in the late 1940s to the most recent, shot in 2004.
"Mr. Erwitt is known for the works that he calls ‘Snaps,’ which he did on the side for his personal collection, and that’s what most of these photos in the exhibit are," Pfluger said. "The dogs depicted are every shape and size."
Pfluger said the public, especially the canine-loving Parkites, will enjoy the show.
"Dogs are arguably one of Mr. Erwitt’s favorite subjects," she said. "You can see how he has expanded this humorous and entertaining collection throughout his life."
Erwitt has said his photos of dogs work on two levels, Pfluger explained.
"The first level is that dogs are funny if you catch them in a certain situation," she said.
The next level is that dogs have human qualities.
"Some of these photographs don’t necessarily have to do with the dog as much as it has to do with the human condition," Pfluger said. "The human characteristics that dogs carry is something that is very important and Mr. Erwitt does a great job of conveying that in these photos."
All these photos are titled by where they were taken and Erwitt has written little essays for each work.
"People will notice that he will describe dogs from certain areas of the world and explain how their characteristics fit in with those communities," Pfluger said.
One of her favorites is a photo that was taken in Paris during the 1950s.
"This dog is in the driver’s seat of car," Pfluger said with a laugh. "It’s a cool photo and the dog looks like he’s acting like a human and sitting in this car is just something he’s supposed to do. There is something about the attitude of the photo that I just love."
Working on the exhibit taught Pfluger much about Erwitt and his personality.
"As I have listened to and read his interviews, I have found Mr. Erwitt to be a very humble person," she said. "He has said to think that anyone would enjoy his work makes him happy."
"Dog Dogs" is great for the Kimball Art Center because the staff looks for ways to present diverse shows, Pfluger said.
"We want people to come in and see different things," she explained. "We are just coming off showing a bunch of student work with the Wasatch Back Student Art Show, and we’re going into works by such a well-known and respected photographer."
The show was acquired by a company called art2art Circulating Exhibits, the same organization that loaned the KAC Ansel Adams’ "Early Works" in 2010.
"They offer a lot of photography exhibits, especially black-and-white shows," Pfluger said. "We constantly have traveling exhibits apply to show here and we know this community loves dogs so much that we thought it would be a great fit."
In addition, to "Dog Dogs," the Kimball Art Center will fill the Garage Gallery and the basement Badami Gallery with complementary exhibits.
"We have a black and white photography show by Carla Boecklin in the Garage Gallery (see accompanying story), and in our basement we will be showing ‘Faces of Summit County,’ which is also a black and white exhibit," Pfluger said.
For "Faces of Summit County," the KAC sent out a call for Summit County residents to submit black-and-white digital photos that represent the title of the show.
"We have a wide range of images from established and emerging photographers and a lot of our Young Arts Academy submitted some images," Pfluger said. "We had a jury of photographers and fine-art collectors select the ones to show."
The Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave., will open Elliott Erwitt’s "Dog Dogs" during the Park City Gallery Association Gallery Stroll on Friday, May 30, at 6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.kimballartcenter.org . For more information about the gallery stroll, visit www.parkcitygalleryassociation.com.