Museum Home Past Exhibitions Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection

October 24, 2006–February 25, 2007 at the Getty Center

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The Getty Museum's photographs department was created in 1984 with the acquisition of a number of exceptional American and European private collections. More recently, a new generation of visionary collectors—exemplified by Nancy and Bruce Berman—has left its mark on the Museum.

Since 1998 the Bermans have donated nearly 500 photographs to the Getty, transforming the Museum's collection of contemporary American color photography. Bruce Berman is also a founding member of the Photographs Council, a group that supports the Museum's contemporary photography programs.

This show includes photographs by 24 of the more than 100 photographers whose work the Bermans have acquired over 15 years of collecting. The broad theme they seek in the works they collect is life in the United States.

Bruce Berman, a film producer and head of Village Roadshow Pictures, hunts for photographic evidence of 20th-century American lifestyles—the homes, cars, churches, bars, and theaters that once comprised our national landscape. He channeled his respect for midwestern painters such as Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton and his love of the bold colors of Navajo weaving and quilts—not to mention his love of Technicolor movies—into a search for color photographs of the American landscape and built environment.

The Bermans seek out and collect works by photographers that might loosely be called regional surveys of landscape, building type, or lifestyle in America. Often, the photographers choose territory of their current or childhood home. The Bermans' is a personal collection that could be described as an archive of late-20th-century American life.

Art and document meet in the work of the Berman photographers. This exhibition reveals what a successful collaboration that can be.

This exhibition inaugurates the new Center for Photographs on the Terrace level (L2) of the West Pavilion.


A photographer documents the changing urban landscape.

See Also

Four of the photographers in this exhibition teamed up with L.A. college students. The result—an exhibition of student photographs:
Where We Live: Student Perspectives