Photographer Ansel Adams at Phoenix Art Museum

Exhibition offers an intimate view into the artist’s artistic process

From Jan. 11 through June 7, Phoenix Art Museum presents Ansel Adams: Performing the Print, an exhibition of works by one of the 20th century’s foremost photographers.

Featuring 60 photographs drawn from the Ansel Adams Archive at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Performing the Print spans six decades and presents sets of prints grouped in twos and threes to demonstrate how Adams often created multiple prints of varying interpretations from his own negatives. The exhibition is the most recent collaboration between Phoenix Art Museum and CCP, which was co-founded in 1975 by Adams and then-University of Arizona president John Schaefer.

“We are pleased to present Ansel Adams: Performing the Print to our audiences in Arizona,” says Gilbert Vicario, the Museum’s deputy director for curatorial affairs and the Selig family chief curator. “The exhibition offers an intimate view into Adams’ artistic process that will intrigue both longtime admirers of his work as well as those who will experience his photographs for the first time in our galleries.”

Ansel Adams, 1902 – 1984Arches, North Court, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona, 1968.

An acclaimed photographer best known for his black-and-white images of the American West, Adams famously said that the photographic negative is like a composer’s score while the print is the performance. In Performing the Print, the artist’s choices about cropping, brightness and overall contrast are illuminated, as multiple prints created using the same negative are showcased side by side, with several accompanied by quotations from the artist’s writings sourced from various publications to provide context.

The exhibition also features portraits of painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, well-known images of national parks such as Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, and photographs from Hawaii, Cape Cod and Alaska.

Over the past 13 years, the Museum and CCP have organized nearly 40 exhibitions, bringing outstanding works of 20th century and contemporary photography to wider audiences in Arizona. Ansel Adams: Performing the Print is the first exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum solely devoted to the renowned American photographer since The Process and the Page in 2014.

Ansel Adams: Performing the Print

Jan. 11 – June 7

Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information, visit

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