“Tina Barney: The Europeans” January 19–May 10, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 18, 2014)—The Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Tina Barney: The Europeans, a selection of sumptuous, large-scale color portraits that depict upper-class Europeans in their homes, surrounded by their prized artworks and opulent interiors that mark their privileged status. With an eye for detail, composition, and color, American photographer Tina Barney creates images that are renowned for their seductive beauty and poignant sociological insight. Frist Center Executive Director and CEO Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D., is curator of the exhibition, which will be on display in the Center’s Ingram Gallery January 19 through May 10, 2015.

Organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Tina Barney: The Europeans comprises 21 chromogenic color prints from the artist’s larger body of work by the same name. The sizable portraits invite viewers to inspect the backgrounds and surroundings that are often as significant to the photographic vignettes as the human subjects. In reference to this characteristic of Ms. Barney’s work, Dr. Edwards notes, “Details are not so much about meaning as visual information, the attributes and artifacts of a lifestyle.” Ms. Barney’s mother, a fashion model turned interior designer, influenced this approach and demonstrated the importance of backgrounds and material belongings as representative of the aristocracy. For example, the title The Brocade Walls (2003) refers not to anyone in the group portrait, but rather to the fabric wall covering, which has a raised pattern. “The repetition and flow of color—red, in particular, but also the combination of black and white—leads the eye through the image with a rhythm worthy of Rubens,” says Dr. Edwards. “She is conscious of how artists from the Renaissance forward handle light, space, color, and composition, and she pushes herself and photography in similar directions.”

Ms. Barney frequently rearranges furniture, positions her subjects and suggests their garments to reflect a certain emotional or psychological current. “Nevertheless, she is comfortable with a chance encounter or when an unconscious gesture mimics something seen elsewhere in an image,” says Dr. Edwards. “She is a fierce editor of her own work who knows what makes a photograph memorable.”

Between 1996 and 2004, Ms. Barney traveled to Austria, England, Italy, Spain, France and Germany with a large-format camera, lights and assistants. She gained access to the inner circles of Old World elite families with the help of friends and curators who provided introductions. With knowledge of French and some Italian, and her own natural instinct for propriety, she was a reassuring presence among strangers, and worked quickly and closely with her subjects devising tableaus that invoke a bygone elegance. The results are carefully staged yet intimate glimpses into the lives and homes of a reputedly reserved and private social class. “With her photographs,” says Dr. Edwards, “Barney never allows us to forget that even in her capable hands, a theater of manners is an idealized fiction.”

About Tina Barney

Tina Barney was born in New York City in 1945 and studied at the Spence School in Manhattan and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Ketchum, Idaho. She began her career as a photographer in the mid-1970s and during the 1980s she rose to prominence through photographing her own family and friends in affluent coastal areas of the Northeast. In 1991, she was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and in 1996 she was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. Ms. Barney’s work can be seen in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. She is represented by The Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City. Ms. Barney resides in New York City and Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

Exhibition Credit

This exhibition was organized by Susan H. Edwards, executive director and CEO, Frist Center for the Visual Arts.

Sponsor Acknowledgment

Presenting Sponsors: Robin and Richard Patton

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Public Programs

Friday, January 23
Double Feature Films: Tina Barney: Social Studies and Horst
7:00 p.m.

Frist Center Auditorium
Gallery admission required; members free
Seating is first come, first seated

Join us for a double feature of short documentaries related to the exhibition Tina Barney: The Europeans on view in the Ingram Gallery from January 19 through May 10, 2015.

Tina Barney: Social Studies follows the renowned photographer as she travels to Europe seeking fresh subjects and inspiration. Social Studies presents an intimate portrait of Barney, a woman born into privilege who has turned her world into art. Directed by Jaci Judelson. 2005. 57 minutes. DVD. NR.

Produced and directed by the photographer Tina Barney, Horst examines the career of one of the fashion world’s most elegant and influential photographers, Horst P. Horst. This rarely seen documentary film is a study of the artist’s work, ranging from his society portraits of the 1930s to the fashion shots and interiors made for Vogue, House and Garden, Architectural Digest, and Vanity Fair. 1988. 20 minutes. DVD. NR.

Wine, beer, and a full menu are available in the Frist Center Café and can be enjoyed during the screening.

Friday, February 13
Artist’s Perspective: Tina Barney: The Europeans Presented by Tina Barney
12:00 p.m.

Frist Center Auditorium
Gallery admission required; members free
Seating is first come, first seated

Join New York-based photographer Tina Barney as she discusses Tina Barney: The Europeans, an exhibition of her work on view in the Ingram Gallery from January 19 through May 10, 2015. Barney began her journey into photography in the 1970s, first as a collector and later creating her own works of art. Large in format and rich in color, her most well-known works capture moments within the lives of the American and European elite. Barney will discuss her experiences photographing aristocratic men, women, and children in Austria, England, Italy, Spain, France and Germany as she created this body of work.

Friday, March 13
Art After Dark: Tina Barney: The Europeans Presented by Keri Jhaveri, youth and family educator
6:30–7:15 p.m.

Meet at exhibition entrance
Gallery admission required; members free
Reservations recommended, but not required; call 615.744.3355 for reservations.

Enrich your Friday nights. Join in an open-ended discussion in the galleries to heighten your appreciation and understanding of the visual arts by exploring one work of art in depth with an educator in the galleries. The chosen work of art changes every session, making each visit a new experience. Space is limited to 15 participants to encourage visitor participation. Visit http://www.fristcenter.org for additional dates. Tina Barney: The Europeans is on view in the Ingram Gallery from January 19 through May 10, 2015.

Buddy Kite: 615.744.3351, ”
Ellen Jones Pryor: 615.243.1311, ”

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About the Frist Center
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting and originating high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities. Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Center offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Information on accessibility may be found at fristcenter.org/accessibility. Gallery admission is free for visitors 18 and younger and to members; $10 for adults; and $7 for seniors, military, and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5:00–9:00 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling 615.744.3247. The galleries, Café, and Gift Shop are open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00–5:30 p.m., with the Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling 615.244.3340 or by visiting fristcenter.org.

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