- On View
- NOW at the Corcoran
- Past Exhibitions
- David Levinthal: War Games
- NOW at the Corcoran – Ellen Harvey: The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C.
- WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath
- American Bronzes from the Corcoran Gallery of Art
- How Is the World? Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Photography
- NEXT at the Corcoran 2013
- Shooting Stars: Publicity Stills from Early Hollywood and Portraits by Andy Warhol
- Annual Print Department Exhibition
- Ill Street Blues
- Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 1980s
- From the Collection: Victor Burgin
- Bezalel on Tour
- Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII
- NOW at the Corcoran – Enoc Perez: Utopia
- Ivan Sigal: White Road
- On the Campaign Trail
- James Bridle: A Quiet Disposition
- Programs & Events
- Educators & Students
- Youth & Family
- Support & Membership
- About the Corcoran
Sally Mann: What Remains
June 12, 2004–September 6, 2004
June 12, 2004–September 6, 2004
Sally Mann: What Remains presents this celebrated photographer’s most recent body of work, a five-part series that explores the ineffable divide between body and soul, life and death, earth and spirit. The project is organized into five sections that visually depict the eternal cycle of life, death, and regeneration. What Remains draws upon the artist’s personal experiences as inspiration for a haunting series about the one subject that affects us all: the loss of life and what remains.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art has had a long relationship with Sally Mann. The Lewis Law Portfolio, her first museum exhibition, premiered here in 1977. Born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951, Mann is perhaps best known for Immediate Family, her photographic series and book that features artful and intimate photographs of her husband and three children in everyday moments. These evoke a mother’s inquisitive gaze at her own family within a dreamlike rural environment. Immediate Family helped redefine how we think about the complex relationships between a photographer and her subject. Her other major projects include Second Sight, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women, and Mother Land: Recent Landscapes of Georgia and Virginia.
Mann’s work is produced in series that often unfold in poetic sequences of pictures. She combines sophisticated historical and aesthetic sensibilities with a highly personal, philosophical look at real life in the American South. Some of her photographs are fictional and some quite real, but they all connect her memories of a bucolic childhood growing up on her father’s Shenandoah farm to an innate, emotional feeling for the landscape.
Never one to shy away from challenging subject matter, Mann asks us in What Remains to contemplate the beauty and efficiency with which nature assimilates the body once life is over. Here she seamlessly connects the landscape of the earth to the topography of the body and examines how both are tightly interwoven. Yet she creates tension between the two. As the exhibition progresses, portrait faces of her children emerge from the darkness of the alchemical photographic process, surrounded by murky images of the landscape, as if struggling to become free of the earth that inevitably reclaims the body.