Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 248: Picture postcard

Unknown artist
Front Street, Looking North, Morgan City, LA, 1929
Postcard, Photomechanical reproduction; 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.264.107.188)

I love postcards! We saw an amazing exhibition at the Met this weekend displaying a selection of cards from Walker Evan's 9,000+ collection. The images spanned sites across the country, but primarily focused on impressive scenes of architecture and landscape. It was a delightful celebration of the significance postcards once held as a primary means of connection. One caption declared that at the height of Coney Island's popularity over 250,000 postcards were typically mailed on an average Sunday afternoon!

At the very least a postcard is a simple gesture of communication and exchange, a visual keepsake signaling travel and experience. The colloquial visual style of postcards was something Evans attempted to emulate in his photography and enjoyed enough to collect in mass number. Postcard collections such as Evan's rival fine art with their ability to encompass history and cultural eras, illustrate various graphic styles, and preserve the poetics of messages sent between lovers and friends. The show was a inspiration to continue to build and dispense my postcard collection, perhaps helping to build a renewed interest in this enjoyable and accessible form of art.

View the Met's site for the exhibition.

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