Bill Dane: The Photographic Postcard As a Conceptual Art Work

Thomas Garver Haverford College class of 1956 was contacted last June to solicit ideas as to how to structure an exhibition to acknowledge his support of the photography collection at Haverford over two decades. He replied that his gift should be thought of as an “Accidental Collection” because that is what it is. The hundreds of prints and related material that he has given signify that it is more than that. O. Winston Link, Charles Currier, vernacular photography and Bill Dane’s real photographic post card correspondence stand out because of their sheer numbers and affinity with each other. Graver wrote of Dane’s postcard photographs:

One might imagine Dane as one photographer among many in a crowd, waiting for the momentary appearance of a “great personality,” The figure appears–all cameras fire in unison–except Dane’s, His reflexes appear to be curiously skewed. While all the other Photographers get the standard “shot,” Dane gets the special, perhaps awkward, but very personal photograph, the photograph that turns our “personality” bock into a person.

Dane’s Photographic post card correspondence to Garver is a succinct summing up of this esthetic and the state of photography in the middle of the 20th century. The twenty-four post cards on exhibition are at once a meditation on the meaning of photographs, the technology of image transmission and a record of a correspondence between friends. The cards are displayed so that both sides can be seen. This allows the image and text to be experienced as Dane made them. Tom’s description of his gift as “Accidents” is instructive and a rewarding way to look at and to appreciate the originality of Bill Dane’s work.

Keeping the Boundaries [sic] Clear Bill Dane; American {1938 - } Silver gelatin print Gift of Thomas H. Garver, 2011
Keeping the Boundaries [sic] Clear
Bill Dane; American {1938 – }
Silver gelatin print
Gift of Thomas H. Garver, 2011

For more information:
Event Details

May 19-October 5, 2014
The Alcove Gallery
Magill Library
Campus Map

Summer Hours:
May 19 – August 31
Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fall Hours:
September 1 – October 5
Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Weekends: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

View Bill Dane’s webpage