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Ingeborg Gerdes: Out West
August 5 - August 28Free
Join Blue Sky as we kickoff the first First Thursday since 2019 for the opening of the retrospective exhibition, “Ingeborg Gerdes: Out West,” a special memorial exhibition for acclaimed photographer, Ingeborg Gerdes (German-American, 1938 – 2020). This retrospective exhibition, Out West, comprises work from several of Gerdes’ series spanning a 50-year period, including photographs from San Francisco in the 70s, Out West Across the Basin, Out West in Color, Eastern Washington, The Mission District, and Autobiography.
August 5, 5–7pm
Blue Sky is pleased to announce a special memorial exhibition for acclaimed photographer, Ingeborg Gerdes (German-American, 1938 – 2020). This retrospective exhibition, Out West, comprises work from several of Gerdes’ series spanning a 50-year period, including photographs from San Francisco in the 70s, Out West Across the Basin, Out West in Color, Eastern Washington, The Mission District, and Autobiography.
Born and raised in Germany, Gerdes immigrated to the United States in 1965, first to Philadelphia, then to San Francisco, where she received her Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. Over the years Gerdes explored a wide range of subjects. Making photographs corresponded with her passion for travel, which took her to Europe, Mexico, and Asia. Her fascination with the American West began with a road trip to Nevada in 1982 and became a decade-long project, and her German upbringing allowed for a curious yet critical outsider’s outlook of America. Throughout her life, she maintained close ties to Europe, which is evident in much of her work, and she frequently traveled between her home in the San Francisco Bay Area and Berlin, Germany.
Gerdes exhibited her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. In 1975 she exhibited alongside Imogen Cunningham, Bernice Abbott, Mary Ellen Mark, Diane Arbus, among others, in “Women Photographers: A Historical Survey” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. During her lifetime, Gerdes was awarded four National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and participated in two Photography Survey grants. Her photographs are in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Portland Art Museum, the Stanford Museum of Art and the Berkeley Art Museum, among others. She taught photography for over two decades at the University of California, Santa Cruz, influencing a new generation of artists and undergraduate students.
Gerdes passed away peacefully at her home in Emeryville, CA on June 20th, 2020. She is remembered as a remarkably talented photographer, influential educator, and as a dear sister, aunt, colleague, and friend. Her photographic archives will be housed in the Special Collections of the McHenry Library, at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Curated by Ann Jastrab, Executive Director of the Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA. This exhibition is one of several shows to honor Gerdes’ legacy.