In September I was able to make it up to San Francisco again and finally visit Pier 24 Gallery. The gallery opened in 2010, born from the collection private collection of Andrew and Mary Pilara. They created the Pilara Foundation which purchased its first photograph, an Arbus portrait, in 2003 and now the collection exceeds over 4,000 prints. The core of the collection includes prints from photographers who were featured in MoMA's New Documents (1967) and Eastman House's New Topographics (1975) exhibitions and has grown to include many of today's emerging photographers.
The current exhibition is The Grain of the Present, Pier 24's ninth exhibition, features the work of ten photographers from that core of collection, including some of my favorite photographers like: Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand. There are also images by other photographers like Alec Soth who's photographs are so impressive; met him at the first Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, he's such a solid photographer, always enjoy his work. The Exhibition opened April 1, 2017 and runs through January 31, 2018.
The thing I loved most about this exhibition was the presentation. The Pier 24 space is perfect to begin with, but they also know how to hang a show. Seeing all 42 of Nicholas Nixon's Brown Sisters portraits hung together in a grid was a perfect way to experience that series. The tight grouping of prints also worked well for Friedlander's Small Screens series and it fantastic to view Winogrand's Women are Beautiful series grouped all together. For Women are Beautiful it allowed me to have a new and different experience with the images which I really enjoyed. I know that work so well and it allowed me to find new things in the images when they were side by side and I could compare them.
The Pilara Foundation is the first to inhabit this historic space in nearly three decades. After two years spent remodeling the building, Pier 24 Photography opened to the public in 2010. The building’s design straddles the line between storage and exhibition space, while maintaining a gallery-like aesthetic. The scale of the space allows for the Foundation’s collection to be displayed with few restrictions, and the location off the Embarcadero promenade, directly underneath the Bay Bridge, provides for a breathtaking panoramic view of the Bay. Pier 24 respects the original use and intention of the building, pays homage to a remarkable collection of photography, and highlights the Bay Area’s stunning landscape.