Photography of John Gutmann: Culture Shockby Sandra B. Phillips, Sandra S. Phillips, John Gutmann
The lens of photographer John Gutmann reveals a unique
appreciation of American culture in all its vitality and strangeness,
bringing the U.S. urban experience of the twentieth century vividly to life.
The social turbulence underlying life during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s is
captured memorably by Gutmann in America�s cars, signs, clothing, and street
life, and in the multitude of surprising individuals he portrayed with both
irony and respect.
This retrospective volume traces Gutmann�s career from his training as a painter in Germany, first under renowned Expressionist Otto Muller, then in the wild, decadent Berlin of the 1930s, through his resolution to leave during Hitler�s ascent to power, to his decision to settle in San Francisco. As a Jew, Gutmann was forbidden by the Nazis to exhibit or teach; photojournalism struck him as a useful means of supporting himself as a refugee. He had no training as a photographer and no interest in in the medium as a pure art form, but he was fascinated by the popular culture of photography in magazines. Bringing to San Francisco the eye for the bizarre that he had developed in recording the vibrant, cosmopolitan life of Berlin � a eye further sensitized by his status as an exile in a strange country � Gutmann photographed the odd, the morbid, and the freakish with the detachment of an anthropologist examining an exotic culture.
Selected by the artist shortly before his death in 1998, these images are as much a record of Gutmann�s own culture shock as he experienced America � a land he and his German contemporaries had fantasized as a glamorous amalgam of skyscrapers, the Wild West, painted Indians, gangsters, and Negro jazz � as they are a reflection of a culture shocked by its own restless movement.
Christian Science Monitor
- Merrell Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.39(w) x 11.76(h) x 0.83(d)
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