Photographer David Graham will deliver a Distinguished Artist Lecture in the Berman Museum of Art on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. Graham is currently a professor of media arts, photography, film and animation at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.
Graham’s photography has been exhibited in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other institutions. He has published numerous book collections of his photography and done work for Harper’s, The New York Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Most of his work consists of scenes across the American landscape, and it embraces popular photography in its use of the snapshot, the family portrait, and the vacation photo.
The photographer’s most recent work, Almost Paradise, envisions an American landscape overrun with commercialism and wrought with destruction. The collection of photos includes such startling juxtapositions as a row of Port-O-Potties in front of a historic building and a canon aimed at a mural of the Statue of Liberty. It also portrays the American dream in a state of decay, with buildings in rubble and a gas station awning twisted and fallen to the ground in a rusted heap. However, this bleakness is mitigated by quirky, bizarre subject matter and wildly intense colors that celebrate the liveliness of American cultural expression. — David Hysek, 2011