Events and Programs

The Hyde Museum


Seeing David Smith: Photographs by Dan Budnik

December 02, 2006 - February 25, 2007

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Seeing David Smith: Photographs by Dan Budnik will be on view in the Hoopes Gallery from December 2, 2006 through February 25, 2007. The exhibition will offer twenty-four gelatin silver prints that document the artist David Smith (1905-1965) at his home, in his studio, and in the sculpture fields located in Bolton Landing, New York during 1962 and 1963. A steel sculpture by Smith has been selected to round out the show. The work Voltri-Bolton XVII, 1963, on loan from The Estate of David Smith, courtesy Gagosian Gallery, measures more than eighty-one inches high. Seeing David Smith comes to The Hyde from Knoedler & Company, New York, N.Y., where a version of this show was on view from March 18 through May 26, 2006. This exhibition is made possible in part by the The Volunteer Committee of The Hyde Collection and David Ogawa . The Lake George Mirror is the media sponsor.

David Smith is widely acclaimed as one of the giants of twentieth-century sculpture. Smith’s persona, working process, studio, and the "fields" at his home have been the fascination of many photographers — among them Alexander Liberman and Irving Penn. Dan Budnik’s (b. 1933) photography of Smith, however, is unparalleled in its intimacy and its depth.

When Budnik was only 19 years old he met Smith through a mutual friend. Smith invited Budnik to stay with him at the Terminal Iron Works in Bolton Landing. When Budnik eventually went there to photograph Smith in 1962, he chose to go in winter when the artist was most isolated, the weather most severe, and the creative process most intense. His early photographs of Smith were published as a photo-essay in LIFE Magazine in 1963. While reproductions of Budnik’s photographs have been widely published, this exhibition presents a rare opportunity to view the prints themselves.

Dan Budnik’s career as a photographer has spanned more than half a century. He was the 1998 recipient of the prestigious American Society of Media Photographers Honor Roll Award. This award was previously accorded to eminent photographers that include Man Ray, Edward Steichen, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, André Kertész, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. After studying with Charles Alston at the Art Students League of New York (1951-53), Budnik began his career as a Magnum photographer. His photo-essays have appeared in periodicals that include Art in America, Life, Fortune, The London Sunday Times Magazine, Look, Modern Photography, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Réalités, and Vogue. His photographs also appear in The Museum: An Informal Introduction to The Museum of Modern Art by Richard Schickel (1970).

The scope of Dan Budnik’s documentation of major twentieth-century artists has yet to be fully recognized. In addition to David Smith, he has photographed, among others, Lee Bontecou, Alexander Calder, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mark Rothko. His photographs of David Smith have been widely published, and have become an essential part of the extensive body of literature on Smith.

This exhibition was organized by Knoedler & Company, New York.