May 9- August 2, 2009
Sarasota, FL—March 10, 2009 – Visitors will envision Eden and paradise, through 155 contemporary photographs in the exhibition Picturing Eden, on view May 9- August 2, 2009 at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s Searing Wing. Picturing Eden, organized by George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, features the work of 37 artists from six countries —including well-known contemporary artists Mike and Doug Starn, Adam Fuss, Ruud van Empel, Joel-Peter Witkin, and Sally Mann, as well as emerging artists such as Gavin Hipkins, Alec Soth, and Lori Nix.
“As the State Art Museum of Florida, the Ringling Museum continues its commitment to showcasing diverse art through special exhibitions,” said Dr. John Wetenhall, Executive Director of the Ringling Museum. “Picturing Eden is thought-provoking and brings an age-old image into contemporary society through the use of vivid imagery and subject matter.”
As a mythic theme, Eden resonates across time and cultures, and is charged with both political and environmental concerns. The contemporary artists featured in Picturing Eden examine the many facets of paradise, from a place of contemplation and restoration to a site of loneliness and despair.
The exhibition is organized in four sections: Paradise Lost, Paradise Reconstructed, Despairing of Paradise, and Paradise Anew. The photographs explore the development and changing styles of the garden and concepts of paradise throughout the history of art. By looking at the notion of paradise and the garden through the photographic lens, Picturing Eden highlights the loss of innocence and the ongoing significance of culture and human life on environment. Eden or paradise, a place of great or perfect happiness and satisfaction, is an ideal still sought today.
“The 37 artists featured in the exhibition interpret Paradise to challenge accepted ideas of the utopian model garden,” said Dr. Virginia Brilliant, Assistant Curator of European Art at the Ringling Museum. “Visitors will no doubt be empowered to contemplate, and possibly even redefine, their own ideals and notions about paradise.”
An accompanying catalog, published by Steidl, will feature photographs from the exhibition; an introduction by Dr. Anthony Bannon, director of George Eastman House, originator of the exhibition; an essay by guest curator Deborah Klochko, Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) in California; and a transcribed conversation about paradise and the visual image.
Picturing Eden was organized by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and film who gratefully acknowledges organizational support from the Comer Foundation; Mondriaan Stichting Foundation, Amsterdam; and Creative New Zealand.
General Admission includes the Ringling Museum of Art, special exhibitions, Cà d’Zan Mansion, Circus Museum, Mable’s historic Rose Garden and Florida’s only rose test gardens, all on 66 acres of lushly landscaped grounds. Adults are $20; senior citizens (65 and over) are $17; children ages 6-17 are $7. Free Admission for children 5 and under accompanied by an adult, museum members. Advance tickets are available by calling 941.358.3180. Visit for more information.