Grinnell College's Faulconer Gallery reopens on Friday, Jan. 25 p.m. with an exhibition of photographs by noted architecture photographer Robert Polidori.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, and now an American citizen living in Los Angeles, Polidori has photographed around the world during his 30-year career. This exhibit begins with photographs of apartment interiors in New York from 1985, when Polidori was first transitioning from film studies to still photography. Shortly thereafter he moved to Paris, and began the series documenting the ongoing restoration at Versailles, which continues to this day. In between he has photographed some of the world's most beautiful, and also its most ravaged sites: bombed-out buildings in Beirut; abandoned facilities in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster zone; and the streets and houses of post-Katrina New Orleans, where Polidori was once a high school student. Photographs from each of these places are included in the exhibition, which is the first comprehensive survey of the artist's work to be exhibited in the United States. To Polidori, these architecture photographs are "portraits," bearers of the souls of their inhabitants and, for better or worse, a physical reflection of humankind's greatest aspirations and its tragic shortcomings.
In 2010 the Grinnell College Art Collection acquired a photograph from Polidori's Versailles series, and that photo served as the inspiration for this exhibition. "I was surprised to discover that the broad range of Polidori's work had been exhibited in his native Canada, in South America and in Asia, but never in this country," said Daniel Strong, associate director and curator of exhibitions at the Faulconer Gallery. Even more surprising, Strong said, was that the photographs featured in those past international exhibitions were still in their frames, still crated and ready to travel, kept by Polidori in a self-storage facility in Sun Valley, Idaho. "I expressed interest in mounting a show, and discovered that there were 58 photographs covering the artist's entire career, already printed and framed and ready to hang on the wall. It's a curator's dream come true."
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover catalogue co-published by Steidl, one of the world's leading publishers of photography books. Invaluable assistance in bringing the exhibition to Grinnell has been provided by Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto.
The exhibition opens with a public reception in the Rotunda of the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on Friday, Jan. 25, at 4:15 p.m. The Gallery's regular hours are Tuesday and Wednesday noon-5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday noon-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon-5 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website, here: http://www.grinnell.edu/app/wermap.html.