LOS ANGELES – The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the acquisition of sixty-six gelatin silver prints created between 1968-1977 by contemporary photographer Arthur Tress (American, born 1940). The acquisition primarily includes staged images of children from the artist’s series The Dream Collector (1972) and Theater of the Mind (1976).
“Arthur Tress’s images of children in dream-like scenes are captivating, disquieting, and wholly original,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “These are the first photographs by Tress to enter the Getty’s collection, and add depth and range to the theme of staged photography already in our collection.”
Tress began his career creating “straight” street photographs in accord with the prevailing photographic movement in the 1960s, but soon began to explore the theatrical realm of the strange and grotesque. The majority of photographs in this acquisition explicitly visualize the terror, excitement, and confusion of childhood by placing children in the center of compositions and surrounding them with a destabilized world. One such image is Child Buried in Sand, Coney Island/Boy in Mickey Mouse Hat (1968), which features a boy half buried in beach sand and wearing a cock-eyed Mickey Mouse hat on his head. Although the boy’s demeanor suggests peaceful slumber, the photograph introduces elements of menace and ambiguity that are unsettling.
The acquisition complements existing works in the Getty Museum’s collection, including photographs by Diane Arbus, Dora Maar, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard that address children and childhood. Plans for exhibition of the images are to be announced.
Left: Boy with Root Hands, New York, New York, 1971. Arthur Tress (American, born 1940). Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Arthur Tress.
Right: Boy in Snow, NY, NY, about 1970. Arthur Tress (American, born 1940). Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Arthur Tress.
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.
The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.
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