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Told and Untold: The Photo Stories of Kati Horna in the Illustrated Press @Americas Society

November 30, 2016

JTF (just the facts): A total of 65 black and white photographs and other ephemera, framed in black and matted, and hung against orange and white walls in a series of three connected rooms. All of the photographs are gelatin silver prints, made between 1933 and 1983. The show also includes multiple vitrines and display cases containing 13 album pages (some double sided)/contact sheets, 18 magazines/spreads, 5 newspapers/spreads, 2 collages/montages, and various other books, exhibition pamphlets, initiations, lithographs, and other materials. The exhibit was curated by Michel Otayek and Christina De León, and a catalog of the exhibition published by the Americas Society is forthcoming. (Installation shots below.)

Comments/Context: Kati Horna is a photographer in the midst of active rediscovery. Depending on your particular knowledge of photographic history, Horna might be best known for her humanist photojournalism during the Spanish Civil War or perhaps for her later more evocatively Surrealist imagery. A recent retrospective at the Jeu de Paume (in 2014 here) clarified her story and filled in many of its contextual gaps, tracing her path from Hungary (where she was born) through France and Spain, and eventually on to exile in Mexico, where much of her artistic career took place.

This show builds on that scholarly momentum, examining her relationship with the printed page and resetting her most famous photographs in the newspapers and magazines where they first appeared. It is an analysis that pushes us away from the central idea of precious fine art prints and toward an understanding that Horna’s photographs were nearly always made with wider circulation in mind. Organized chronologically, the exhibit provides a well-edited sampler of Horna’s work from five decades, always bringing us back to the central theme that her most celebrated projects were made in collaboration with the illustrated press....

Read the full art review here.