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Walker Evans: Signs

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Overview


Walker Evans photographed signs throughout every phase of his career. From the 1920s to the time of his death in 1975, Evans was obsessed with the signage he found in modern America--from billboards to gas station pumps to street graffiti to handmade announcements of a Saturday-night dance. This book features fifth photographs of signs from the Getty Museum's collection, presented with a lively, provocative essay by Andrei Codrescu. Codrescu trains a perceptive eye on the artistic and social climate in Evans's ...
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Overview


Walker Evans photographed signs throughout every phase of his career. From the 1920s to the time of his death in 1975, Evans was obsessed with the signage he found in modern America--from billboards to gas station pumps to street graffiti to handmade announcements of a Saturday-night dance. This book features fifth photographs of signs from the Getty Museum's collection, presented with a lively, provocative essay by Andrei Codrescu. Codrescu trains a perceptive eye on the artistic and social climate in Evans's America and reflects on the photographer's images as documents and commentary. Some of the images included come from the place and era most closely associated with Evans--the rural South of the 1930s. But also included are photographs that will be less familiar to many of his admirers, such as his images of New York City street scenes and advertising signs, or pictures he took in Havana and in Sarasota, Florida.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two books honoring the great American photographer Walker Evans differ in reproduction value and selection. Signs would be slight and disappointing without the excellent text by Romanian poet and National Public Radio commentator Codrescu. The unifying idea for this book--photos that represent Evans's lifelong affection for signs--feels original and yet ultimately limiting as you flip through marvelous black-and-white images like "Roadside Stand Near Birmingham" (1936) and "What, No Garters?" (1946). Visually, the idea probably works more powerfully within the confines of the J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition. Considered purely as a kind of slide show for Codrescu's text, however, the photographs work ably. While it also contains many old favorites, Simple Secrets doesn't limit inclusion by theme. The catalog of a traveling exhibition launched by Atlanta's High Museum of Art, it has plenty of signage but includes much of the rest of the world Evans rendered so memorably. Well-known pictures seem somehow more surprising here. These photos are from the magnificent Hill Collection, which spans five decades of Evans's work, starting with his shadow self-portrait from 1927. The reproductions and layout are superior to that of Signs, and Walker's subway faces, blind musicians, and old men on porches have rarely looked better. Thirteen of the Hill Collection's photographs have never been published. Recommended for all photography collections.--Nathan Ward, "Library Journal"
Booknews
Traces one of this master photographer's major themes throughout his long career. Brings together images from the era most closely associated with Evans, the rural South of the 1930s, and also includes images of New York City, Chicago, and Havana. An essay by Andre Codrescu brings a fresh perspective to this great photographer's passionate investigation of signs. Includes high-quality b&w photos. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Andrei Codrescu is a poet, novelist, and filmmaker, whose commentaries are often heard on National Public Radio. His latest publication is Hail, Babylon: In Search of the American City at the End of the Millennium.

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