ART HAUS

Gay Photographer Minor White’s Stunning Work Is Celebrated In New Retrospective

Minor White Image Courtesy of J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles 9

Minor White: Manifestations of the Spirit, the first major retrospective of the great American photographer’s work since 1989, is on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum through October 19 in Los Angeles. White spent his life in the closet and many of his male nude images were never publicly exhibited until over a decade after he passed away. The current exhibition at the Getty features a broad array of White’s work including never-before-seen photographs from White’s archive at Princeton University. After finishing his studies at the University of Minnesota, White moved west and worked as a photographer through the Oregon Camera Club in Portland. During World War II White served in military intelligence and moved to New York City after his discharge to continue his photography work and studies. In 1946 Ansel Adams invited White to join the faculty of the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco where he became increasingly self-aware and conscious of censorship and his need to suppress the homoerotic content in his work. He co-founded the photography magazine Aperture with a group of photographers including Ansel Adams and edited the publication through 1975. White spent his lifetime teaching and photographing the world around him, often revealing heavy and evocative themes of sexual frustration while searching for symbolic significance in his body of work.

Images by Minor White

Minor White Image Courtesy of J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles 1
Arches of the Dodd Building (Southwest Front Avenue and Ankeny Street), 1938
Untitled, 1973
Untitled, 1973
72 N. Union Street, Rochester, 1960
72 N. Union Street, Rochester, 1960
Pavilion, New York, 1957
Pavilion, New York, 1957
Burned Mirror, Rochester, 1960
Burned Mirror, Rochester, 1960
Empty Head, 72 N. Union Street, Rochester, print 1962–1965
Empty Head, 72 N. Union Street, Rochester,
print 1962–1965
Rochester, New York, 1963
Rochester, New York, 1963
Peeled Paint, Rochester, New York, 1959
Peeled Paint, Rochester, New York, 1959

Images by Minor White

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One Comment

  • reeshard

    I studied under Minor at MIT in the 70’s. Class time with him was like going to church: it was as much a spiritual experience as a technical craft education (at which he was a master.) Several fellow students treated him like an authentic guru, but I always felt there was a lot more going on with him than he was able or allowed to express. Academic Cambridge wasn’t as homophobic as most places then, but it wasn’t particularly welcoming either. And for someone of Minor’s generation, the gay witch hunts of the 50’s would not be a distant memory. I’m glad to see his full dimensions and that he is getting belated recognition after unearthing these hidden images.

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