May 5, 2010, 11:00 amDec 31, 2010, 5:00 pm
From 1939 to 1945 -- in an act of meticulous, reclusive, and sustained creativity -- photographer Mike Disfarmer produced intimate portraits of the people of Heber Springs, Arkansas. Using glass plate photography long after it was obsolete, Disfarmer left for his subjects to decide how they would present themselves to his lens. Visitors streamed to the studio of this painstaking, sometimes cantankerous photographer. When thousands of these glass plates were discovered in the 1970s, Disfarmer’s photographs were recognized as a stunning achievement for their exquisite artistry, their profound empathy and their landmark documentation of small town life in America’s heartland.
This selection of Disfarmer’s photographs is on view at MASS MoCA in conjunction with our recent presentation of Disfarmer, a puppet theater work by Dan Hurlin, inspired by the life of this American portrait photographer. Disfarmer is one of the more than 60 live events we present at MASS MoCA every year, many of which are developed here in the Hunter Theater during extended artist residencies.