https://bostonathenaeum.org/visit/exhibitions/abbott-schwachman/ Boston Athenaeum
10 ½ Beacon Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Art, History, Innovation, Photoworthy
During the mid-twentieth-century, two photographers captured Boston’s developing landscape: Berenice Abbott and Irene Shwachman. Abbott, an acclaimed photographer, produced a 1934 photographic survey of Boston’s nineteenth-century buildings. Twenty-five years later, Shwachman, a lesser-known yet crucial city chronicler, began “The Boston Document” (1959–1968). This self-directed photographic series pictured Boston’s redevelopment.
Examining how the photographers consider presence, tempo, materiality, and change within the city, “Developing Boston” invites visitors to explore Boston’s past, present, and future, and find their place within the city.
Photographing at different times in Boston’s history, Abbott and Shwachman’s series each explore ways of viewing, dissecting, and preserving Boston. Abbott approaches Boston from a distance, offering stoic views, oscillating between straightforward and oblique angles. Shwachman, a student of Abbott’s, amended her teacher’s approach by photographing Boston through a personal, subjective lens to highlight the city’s dynamism.
The collaboration with Artists For Humanity is supported by the Mass Cultural Council.
This exhibition is generously funded by the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust.