Barbara Crane

Barbara Crane (1928- ) was born in Chicago. She studied art history at Mills College (1945-48), completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at New York University in 1950. Crane did professional portrait photography in New York in the late 1940s before moving back to Chicago in 1952. In 1960 she returned to portrait photography when her youngest child entered pre-school.  A few years later, she enrolled at the Institute of Design and received her Master’s degree in 1966 based on her series of abstract nudes entitled “Human Forms”. Crane has worked in a large variety techniques, formats and materials.  Her explorations of sequential imagery, for example, range from intimate platinum prints to large Polaroids, silver gelatin prints, and digital/archival pigment prints.  Her exhibition history includes six retrospectives and more than 75 one-person shows since 1966, and more than 200 group exhibitions since 1965. Among other awards, Crane has received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1974 and 1988), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1979), and a Polaroid Corporation Materials Grant (1979 and 1994). She is Professor Emeritus in Photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The artist’s work has been widely collected and can be found in the permanent collections of the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson; the Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art in New York , the High Museum in Atlanta; the Bibliothéque nationale, Paris; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, the Polaroid International Collection, Offenbach, Germany, among others.   In 2009, “Barbara Crane : Challenging Vision”  a major retrospective of her work, was organized by the Chicago Cultural Center, and opened at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, before traveling to other cities. The accompanying catalogue presents the first comprehensive overview of the work of the most important woman photographer associated with the Institute of Design.  Also in 2009 Private Views, a selection of intimate Polaroids taken of people in public at point-blank range was published by Aperture. Barbara Crane is Professor Emeritus in Photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.