After this post, I'm retiring Recent Acquisitions. I began writing the column in January of 2012, shortly after I moved to San Francisco, and it enabled me to do what I love most: hang out in archives, museums, historical societies. With the help of some of my favorite curators and archivists, I celebrated the column's one year anniversary at the Commonwealth Club. Thank you to all of the readers and arts workers who supported Recent Acquisitions! I'll continue to write my other column, Read Local, and you can also find me here and here.
The Mills College Art Museum houses an impressive collection inside the Spanish Colonial Revival building designed by Walter Ratcliff Jr., and their most recent acquisition is no exception. Dr. Stephanie Hanor was kind enough to speak with me about the 31 photographs by Bill Owens. The Bay Area photographer -- who has the best illustrated biography I have ever seen on an artist's website -- is best known for capturing suburban domestic scenes around the East Bay.
In the 1970s, most photographers sought out urbane subjects on gritty city streets, or favored pastoral scenes of farmers working the land, but Owens was fixated on those in between, the kind of families who dwelled in tract housing.More »