Dan Budnik: Inside the Studios of Artists
Photographer Dan Budnik (American, 1933–2020) was known for his documentary photography, especially of changes taking root in America in the 1960s civil rights movement. He studied at the Art Students League in New York with Charles Alston (American, 1907–1977), the first African American supervisor for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. Budnik credited Alston for his interest in documentary photography.
In 1955, Budnik’s interest in artists led him to begin photographing Pop artists and Abstract Expressionists in their studios and in less formal circumstances. In this exhibition Kemper Museum focuses on Budnik’s photographs from his Picturing Artists series. Each of the thirteen photographs featured in this exhibition is of an artist represented in Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection. For instance, Budnik depicts artist Louise Nevelson (1899–1988) with her work Sky Cathedral (1958), a sculptural piece made of stacked boxes filled with wood scraps then painted black to obscure the individual objects while unifying the composition. Similarly, in Untitled (ca. 1976–78), available on the Kemper Museum app, Nevelson uses found wood scraps painted monochromatic black.
In the Kemper Museum App Tour, information about each artist accompanies Budnik’s photograph and highlights connections between Budnik’s image of the artist and work by that artist in the Museum’s Permanent Collection. Dan Budnik: Inside the Studios of Artists is curated by Jade Powers, assistant curator at Kemper Museum.