Kansas City, MO
The photographs of Dave Heath (1931-2016) evoke an intense, bittersweet vision of modern life. Abandoned by his parents at the age of four, he grew up in Philadelphia foster homes and an orphanage. This sense of physical and emotional homelessness shaped his artistic vision. Through the camera, Heath channeled his personal feelings into a deeper and larger statement about loss, uncertainty, pain, love and hope.
This exhibition surveys Heath’s classic work in black and white, from 1949 to 1969, centering on “A Dialogue with Solitude,” a celebrated sequence of 82 photographs created in the early 1960s. The exhibition concludes with a selection of his most recent work—color images made on the streets of New York and Toronto between 2001 and 2007.
The first major exhibition of Heath’s work ever organized in the United States, this selection of 184 works underscores the originality and power of Heath’s vision. In exploring his own sense of self through the camera, Heath bears witness to universal experiences of loneliness and desire for human connection.
Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath, is the first comprehensive survey of Heath’s deeply personal work, focusing on his astounding contributions to black-and-white photography. These images span the first 20 years of his career, 1949 to 1969, and many of them are previously unpublished. Filling a major gap in scholarship, the catalogue surveys the most groundbreaking facets of Heath’s creative work and highlights its historical importance. Heath’s art is ripe for rediscovery, and this book reaffirms his status as a key figure in 20th-century American photography.
The work of American photographer Dave Heath (1931-2016) ) stuns with its emotional potency. Exploring themes of loneliness and alienation in modern society, Heath’s photographs depict strangers riding the train, watching a Thanksgiving parade, staring pensively at their dining room table, or kissing on the side of a street. Entirely self-taught, Heath stretches the boundaries of the medium and explores the potential of the photo-narrative—through handmade book maquettes, innovative multimedia slide presentations, and other photographic experimentations.