The work of this period includes intimate depictions of my husband and deeply personal explorations of the landscape of the American South, the nature of mortality (and the mortality of nature), and the indelible marks that slavery left on the world surrounding me.
To coincide with Sally Mann’s survey exhibition, A Thousand Crossings, at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of Mann’s photographs.
For more than four decades Mann’s haunting photography of the people and landscapes around her has explored memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and human connections to nature and place. The works on view are drawn from three series: Deep South and Battlefields, which depict “the radical light of the American South” with an oblique and lyric universality, and Proud Flesh, an intimate portrait of Mann’s husband.
Mann began taking the photographs that would become the Deep South series in 1998, when she drove through the Deep South to Louisiana. Working with a large-format camera and the nineteenth-century wet-plate collodion process, Mann constructed a makeshift darkroom in the back of her car, shooting and printing the images as she went. Making negatives this way gives rise to serendipitous and evocative imperfections—streaks, scratches, spots, and pits. The resulting silver gelatin prints, such as Untitled (Emmett Till River Bank) (1998), are both completely in and of their environment: eerily quiet roads, ruins, and riverbanks that were the sites of both ordinary life and unspeakable violence.
Battlefields, a series Mann began in 2000, shows landscapes haunted with the memory of the Civil War. Sites of long-ago combat from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Antietam, Maryland—often those on which heavy human losses occurred—are pictured as they exist today: calm, unremarkable, and storied with American history. Mann has asked, “Do these fields, upon which unspeakable carnage occurred, where unknowable numbers of bodies are buried, bear witness in some way?”
Between 2003 and 2009, Mann photographed her husband, Larry, whom she married in 1970. Reminiscent of classical studies of the human form and of early photography, the images of his body in Proud Flesh suggest the bond between a husband and wife, but speak as well to human frailty and vulnerability, to the transformative mysteries of aging, the strange lucidity of human flesh, and its transient nature.
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and traveled to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. After its presentation at the Getty, the major survey exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
Sally Mann: Vinculum
Join Sally Mann at her studio in Lexington, Virginia. Filmed at work in her darkroom and within the surrounding landscape, she discusses her exploratory approach to making and printing pictures, what draws her to the landscape of the American South, and her newest body of work, Vinculum.
Edmund de Waal and Sally Mann
Sally Mann joins Edmund de Waal onstage at the Frick Collection in New York to converse about art, writing, and the importance of place in their respective bodies of work.
Sally Mann and Jenny Saville
The two artists discuss being drawn to difficult subjects, the effects of motherhood on their practice, embracing chance, and their shared adoration of Cy Twombly.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019
The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
Drew Gilpin Faust discusses Sally Mann’s landscape photographs of Antietam, a site that more than a century ago bore witness to one of the bloodiest battles in the American Civil War.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
November 17–23, 2021
Sally Mann is known for her photographs of intimate and familiar subjects rendered both sublime and disquieting. Her projects explore the complexities of familial relationships, social realities, and the passage of time, capturing tensions between nature, history, and memory. Central to Mann’s investigation are the landscapes that she has photographed both near her home in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and across the South for over three decades. Often using a view camera, Mann draws on the history of both her medium and the Southern landscape to produce photographs that are expressive and elegiac.
Photo: © Annie Leibovitz
Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington
November 2, 2017–January 20, 2018
Merlin Street, Athens
Extended through April 29, 2017
Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington
January 25–April 29, 2017
rue de Ponthieu, Paris