Americana Roads: Photographs by Robert M. Kurtz, Jr.

Americana Roads
Photographs by Robert M. Kurtz, Jr.

Hagerstown, MD- The exhibition Americana Roads: Kurtz, Jr. will be on view in the Museum's Bowman and Kerstein Galleries between August 4 and November 4, 2007. Photographer Rob Kurtz began his love affair with documentary photography in the mid-1980s. Through photography he preserves a visual record of both historic and commonplace landscapes and architecture, aspiring to convey an understanding of a moment in history to future generations. Kurtz graduated in 1952 from the nearby Mercersburg Academy, where he later served on the Board of Regents. He went on to study at the University of Redlands and Penn State University and, after serving in the U.S. Army, spent his professional career in Clearfield, Pennsylvania managing the printing and school supply firm started by his grandfather in 1895. Kurtz describes his photo-historic approach as seeking to explore and highlight icons of a diminishing past that have made America and its people the nation we are today. His search to document the character of the nation has led Kurtz and his wife Marilyn to travel to many remote areas of the United States, always with camera in hand.
Kurtz has long been impressed by the work done in the 1930s by photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Wright Morris, who served as inspirations for his own work. While these artists best-known photographs often depicted the lives of their fellow man, Kurtz strives to record the vanishing landmarks of our time. Human figures seldom appear in Kurtz's photographs; instead, he concentrates on the straightforward beauty of the uninhabited building, the expansive prairie, or the open road.
Kurtz's photographs have been widely exhibited and have won many Best of Show and First Place awards in regional competitions and nature photography exhibitions. He has received acclaim for his two photographic books, Americana Roads: Wondering the Roads and Heritage of America and Future Passage: Historic Regional Photographs of Central Pennsylvania. Many of the photographs that appear in this exhibition are reproduced in Americana Roads, along with text Kurtz has written to compliment them. Americana Roads will be available for purchase at the Museum Store. An opening reception and gallery talk will be held Sunday, August 5, 2007 between 2:30 and 4pm.
Mr. Kurtz will be available to speak on his work and sign copies of his book.
Thanks to the generosity of William and Anna Singer, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts opened on September 16, 1931 as the focal point of Hagerstown's beautiful City Park. The Museum specializes in 19th and 20th century American art and holds over 6,000 pieces in its permanent collection. "This crown jewel of Washington County" has been recognized as one of the finest small museums in the United States. The Museum is celebrating its 75th anniversary and offers complimentary studio art courses, lectures, films, concerts, and exhibitions from its permanent collection and traveling shows to the people of Washington County and visitors to the quad-state (MD, PA, VA, WV) region. For more information on the Museum or its anniversary, please phone 301-739-5727 or visit www.wcmfa.org. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday from 9am to 4pm, and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.