Barbara Morgan

Invisible Urges
October 12 - November 11, 2006
Selected Works Thumbnail View
Early California Eucalyptus Tree, 1921 Watercolor on paper 14 x 10 inchesEarly California Eucalyptus Tree, 1921 Watercolor on paper 14 x 10 inches

Early California Eucalyptus Tree, 1921
Watercolor on paper
14 x 10 inches

Untitled, c. 1930 Watercolor on paper 20 1/2 x 5 1/2 inchesUntitled, c. 1930 Watercolor on paper 20 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

Untitled, c. 1930
Watercolor on paper
20 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches

Untitled, 1932 Pastel on paper 9 1/2 x 12 inchesUntitled, 1932 Pastel on paper 9 1/2 x 12 inches

Untitled, 1932
Pastel on paper
9 1/2 x 12 inches

Untitled, c. 1932 Charcoal on paper 7 1/2 x 15 inchesUntitled, c. 1932 Charcoal on paper 7 1/2 x 15 inches

Untitled, c. 1932
Charcoal on paper
7 1/2 x 15 inches

From Chrysler Building, c.1934 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1934 14 x 11 inchesFrom Chrysler Building, c.1934 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1934 14 x 11 inches

From Chrysler Building, c.1934
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1934
14 x 11 inches

New York Hudson River, 1934 Lithograph on paper 11 x 15 inchesNew York Hudson River, 1934 Lithograph on paper 11 x 15 inches

New York Hudson River, 1934
Lithograph on paper
11 x 15 inches

Divers (Harlem Pool), 1934 Lithograph on paper 16 x 22 ½ inchesDivers (Harlem Pool), 1934 Lithograph on paper 16 x 22 ½ inches

Divers (Harlem Pool), 1934
Lithograph on paper
16 x 22 ½ inches

Harlem Pool, c.1931 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1931 9 x 13 1/2 inchesHarlem Pool, c.1931 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1931 9 x 13 1/2 inches

Harlem Pool, c.1931
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1931
9 x 13 1/2 inches

The Hunt, 1926 Woodblock print on paper 12 x 18 inchesThe Hunt, 1926 Woodblock print on paper 12 x 18 inches

The Hunt, 1926
Woodblock print on paper
12 x 18 inches

Growing, 1932 Woodblock print on paper 14 x 9 ½ inchesGrowing, 1932 Woodblock print on paper 14 x 9 ½ inches

Growing, 1932
Woodblock print on paper
14 x 9 ½ inches

Rain Dancers, 1931 Woodblock print on paper 14 5/8 x 17 3/8 inchesRain Dancers, 1931 Woodblock print on paper 14 5/8 x 17 3/8 inches

Rain Dancers, 1931
Woodblock print on paper
14 5/8 x 17 3/8 inches

Martha Graham, Ekstasis, 1935 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed c. 1935 17 x 13 inchesMartha Graham, Ekstasis, 1935 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed c. 1935 17 x 13 inches

Martha Graham, Ekstasis, 1935
Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed c. 1935
17 x 13 inches

Martha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick), 1940 Gelatin silver print, printed later 10 3/8 x 13 inchesMartha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick), 1940 Gelatin silver print, printed later 10 3/8 x 13 inches

Martha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick), 1940
Gelatin silver print, printed later
10 3/8 x 13 inches

Outer Space, 1960 Ink and Watercolor on paper 11 1/2 x 12 1/2 inchesOuter Space, 1960 Ink and Watercolor on paper 11 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches

Outer Space, 1960
Ink and Watercolor on paper
11 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches

Valerie Bettis (Kick), 1940 Gelatin silver print, printed later 9 x 7 inchesValerie Bettis (Kick), 1940 Gelatin silver print, printed later 9 x 7 inches

Valerie Bettis (Kick), 1940
Gelatin silver print, printed later
9 x 7 inches

Updraft, 1960 Ink and watercolor on paper 16 x 10 inches Updraft, 1960 Ink and watercolor on paper 16 x 10 inches 

Updraft, 1960
Ink and watercolor on paper
16 x 10 inches 

Untitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper 19 x 12 1/2 inchesUntitled, n.d. Watercolor on paper 19 x 12 1/2 inches

Untitled, n.d.
Watercolor on paper
19 x 12 1/2 inches

Pure Energy and Neurotic Man, 1940 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 inchesPure Energy and Neurotic Man, 1940 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches

Pure Energy and Neurotic Man, 1940
Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later
13 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches

Wire Coins, 1945 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1945 11 x 14 inchesWire Coins, 1945 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1945 11 x 14 inches

Wire Coins, 1945
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1945
11 x 14 inches

Acorn Round, 1961 Ink on paper 18 x 21 1/2 inchesAcorn Round, 1961 Ink on paper 18 x 21 1/2 inches

Acorn Round, 1961
Ink on paper
18 x 21 1/2 inches

Reticulate (Willard Morgan’s Face), 1960 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1960 20 x 16 inchesReticulate (Willard Morgan’s Face), 1960 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1960 20 x 16 inches

Reticulate (Willard Morgan’s Face), 1960
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1960
20 x 16 inches

Photogram, 1942 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1942 12 x 10 inchesPhotogram, 1942 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1942 12 x 10 inches

Photogram, 1942
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1942
12 x 10 inches

Fossil, 1953 Ink and watercolor on paper 18 x 14 1/2 inchesFossil, 1953 Ink and watercolor on paper 18 x 14 1/2 inches

Fossil, 1953
Ink and watercolor on paper
18 x 14 1/2 inches

Cosmic Monkey Business, 1953 Ink and watercolor on paper 14 x 21 inchesCosmic Monkey Business, 1953 Ink and watercolor on paper 14 x 21 inches

Cosmic Monkey Business, 1953
Ink and watercolor on paper
14 x 21 inches

Hearst Over the People, 1939 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1939 7 1/8 x 9 inchesHearst Over the People, 1939 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1939 7 1/8 x 9 inches

Hearst Over the People, 1939
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1939
7 1/8 x 9 inches

Wire Briar Limberlock, 1943 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1943 14 3/4 x 15 3/4 inchesWire Briar Limberlock, 1943 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1943 14 3/4 x 15 3/4 inches

Wire Briar Limberlock, 1943
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1943
14 3/4 x 15 3/4 inches

Transference, 1956-79 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1956-79 14 3/4 x 18 1/4 inchesTransference, 1956-79 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1956-79 14 3/4 x 18 1/4 inches

Transference, 1956-79
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1956-79
14 3/4 x 18 1/4 inches

Charles Weidman, Lynchtown (Humphrey-Weidman Group), 1938 Gelatin silver print, printed later 9 3/4 x 16 inchesCharles Weidman, Lynchtown (Humphrey-Weidman Group), 1938 Gelatin silver print, printed later 9 3/4 x 16 inches

Charles Weidman, Lynchtown (Humphrey-Weidman Group), 1938
Gelatin silver print, printed later
9 3/4 x 16 inches

Inner Stratus, 1970 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1970 5 x 8 1/2 inchesInner Stratus, 1970 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1970 5 x 8 1/2 inches

Inner Stratus, 1970
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1970
5 x 8 1/2 inches

Motion Series IX, 1972 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1972 13 x 15 inchesMotion Series IX, 1972 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1972 13 x 15 inches

Motion Series IX, 1972
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1972
13 x 15 inches

Motion Series III, 1972 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1972 15 x 13 inchesMotion Series III, 1972 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1972 15 x 13 inches

Motion Series III, 1972
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1972
15 x 13 inches

Emerging, 1979 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1979 10 1/2 x 11 inchesEmerging, 1979 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1979 10 1/2 x 11 inches

Emerging, 1979
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1979
10 1/2 x 11 inches

Expansion, 1969 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1969 10 x 18 1/2 inchesExpansion, 1969 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1969 10 x 18 1/2 inches

Expansion, 1969
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1969
10 x 18 1/2 inches

Echoes, 1971 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1971 15 x 12 1/2 inchesEchoes, 1971 Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1971 15 x 12 1/2 inches

Echoes, 1971
Photomontage mounted to board, printed 1971
15 x 12 1/2 inches

Orbital Episodes, 1960 Ink on paper 22 x 16 inchesOrbital Episodes, 1960 Ink on paper 22 x 16 inches

Orbital Episodes, 1960
Ink on paper
22 x 16 inches

Martha Graham, American Document (Trio), 1938 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 7 x 8 3/4 inchesMartha Graham, American Document (Trio), 1938 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 7 x 8 3/4 inches

Martha Graham, American Document (Trio), 1938
Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later
7 x 8 3/4 inches

Artificial Life from the Laboratory, 1965 Photogram, printed c. 1965 19 x 14 ½ inchesArtificial Life from the Laboratory, 1965 Photogram, printed c. 1965 19 x 14 ½ inches

Artificial Life from the Laboratory, 1965
Photogram, printed c. 1965
19 x 14 ½ inches

Samadhi, 1940 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 27 7/8 x 22 inchesSamadhi, 1940 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 27 7/8 x 22 inches

Samadhi, 1940
Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later
27 7/8 x 22 inches

Untitled, 1961 Ink and watercolor on paper mounted to board 9 1/2 x 11 inchesUntitled, 1961 Ink and watercolor on paper mounted to board 9 1/2 x 11 inches

Untitled, 1961
Ink and watercolor on paper mounted to board
9 1/2 x 11 inches

Spiral I, 1940 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 25 x 20 inchesSpiral I, 1940 Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later 25 x 20 inches

Spiral I, 1940
Gelatin silver print mounted to board, printed later
25 x 20 inches

Untitled, c. 1920-1930 Woodblock print on paper 12 x 18 inchesUntitled, c. 1920-1930 Woodblock print on paper 12 x 18 inches

Untitled, c. 1920-1930
Woodblock print on paper
12 x 18 inches

Spring on Madison Square, 1938 Gelatin silver print, printed later 16 x 20 inchesSpring on Madison Square, 1938 Gelatin silver print, printed later 16 x 20 inches

Spring on Madison Square, 1938
Gelatin silver print, printed later
16 x 20 inches

Sunsong, 1954 Ink on paper 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 inchesSunsong, 1954 Ink on paper 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches

Sunsong, 1954
Ink on paper
13 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches

Serpent Light III, c. 1955 Photogram, printed c. 1955 25 x 29 inchesSerpent Light III, c. 1955 Photogram, printed c. 1955 25 x 29 inches

Serpent Light III, c. 1955
Photogram, printed c. 1955
25 x 29 inches

Untitled, 1969 Watercolor on paper 12 5/8 x 15 inchesUntitled, 1969 Watercolor on paper 12 5/8 x 15 inches

Untitled, 1969
Watercolor on paper
12 5/8 x 15 inches

Martha Graham, Lamentation (Oblique), 1930 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1930 10 x 10 1/2 inchesMartha Graham, Lamentation (Oblique), 1930 Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1930 10 x 10 1/2 inches

Martha Graham, Lamentation (Oblique), 1930
Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1930
10 x 10 1/2 inches

Timing Experiment, 1935 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1935 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inchesTiming Experiment, 1935 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1935 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Timing Experiment, 1935
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1935
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Third Avenue El, 1936-79 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1936-79 12 x 8 1/2 inchesThird Avenue El, 1936-79 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1936-79 12 x 8 1/2 inches

Third Avenue El, 1936-79
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1936-79
12 x 8 1/2 inches

Brainwashed, 1961-69 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1961-69 20 x 16 inchesBrainwashed, 1961-69 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1961-69 20 x 16 inches

Brainwashed, 1961-69
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1961-69
20 x 16 inches

Crystalized Skyscraper, 1973 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1973 13 x 10 inchesCrystalized Skyscraper, 1973 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1973 13 x 10 inches

Crystalized Skyscraper, 1973
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1973
13 x 10 inches

City Shell, 1938 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1938 19 1/2 x 15 inchesCity Shell, 1938 Photogram mounted to board, printed 1938 19 1/2 x 15 inches

City Shell, 1938
Photogram mounted to board, printed 1938
19 1/2 x 15 inches

Martha Graham, “War Theme”, 1941 Gelatin silver exhibition print, printed c. 1941 16 x 25 1/2 inchesMartha Graham, “War Theme”, 1941 Gelatin silver exhibition print, printed c. 1941 16 x 25 1/2 inches

Martha Graham, “War Theme”, 1941
Gelatin silver exhibition print, printed c. 1941
16 x 25 1/2 inches

Martha Graham, Imperial Gesture, 1935 15 gelatin silver contact prints, printed c. 1935 4 x 5 inches eachMartha Graham, Imperial Gesture, 1935 15 gelatin silver contact prints, printed c. 1935 4 x 5 inches each

Martha Graham, Imperial Gesture, 1935
15 gelatin silver contact prints, printed c. 1935
4 x 5 inches each

Press Release

Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to present Barbara Morgan Invisible Urges. Though widely recognized for her photographic images of the American modern dance movement from the 1930s and 1940s, Barbara Morgan began her career as a painter, and continued to produce works on paper throughout her life. This exhibition, featuring prints, drawings, watercolors and photographs from the Barbara Morgan Archive, expands the artist’s reputation beyond dance and photography, and broadens the understanding of her contributions as an early champion of modernism.

 

At a young age, Morgan’s parents encouraged her to express herself through painting and poetry. Several “early root experiences” shaped her as an artist:

 

“At age five, my whimsical-philosophical father, holding a green leaf in his hand, said: ‘This leaf is not moving, but millions of atoms are dancing inside it, and atoms are dancing in everything in the world.’ Then a bird flew into a tree. As we watched, my father said, ‘Let’s see if we can tell when the bird wants to fly.’ We saw the bird’s head jerking, side-to-side, then, crouching, he suddenly flew off into the sky. My father explained, ‘Not only atoms dance inside everything, but ideas to do things are inside birds, and animals, and people!’ Since then I have always searched for the ‘invisible urges.’”

 

Barbara Morgan attended UCLA from 1919-1923. Studying fine art and the history of art had a profound affect on Morgan—pushing her to try new media, to explore the concept of visual metaphors, and to fluctuate between realism and abstraction. By 1925, she was teaching landscape painting, abstract design, and woodcut printing at UCLA, and exhibiting works at The Los Angeles Museum (1923, 1929) and The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego (1926, 1927).

 

In 1925, Barbara married Willard Morgan, an important writer as well as photographer, who in 1943 became the first director of the department of photography and newly established photography center at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. On road trips with Willard, Barbara gradually preferred taking a camera rather than her drawing materials for documentation. After moving to New York in 1930, Morgan fully embraced photography because she felt her paintings could not properly capture the city. Throughout her career, Morgan moved through the artistic mediums she had embraced early on with fluidity. As a lifelong theme, movement continued to ribbon its way throughout Barbara’s work.

 

Morgan’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the George Eastman House, and the Smithsonian Institute.  Morgan was awarded a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and she was among the original founders of Aperture.