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Project Room:

Thomas Barrow

Libraries, From the Series

October 15 - November 14, 2020

Opening: Thursday, October 15, 12 - 7 PM



Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present a solo show of historical works by New Mexico based photographer Thomas Barrow entitled Libraries, From the Series.  This group of works, created between 1974-1978, depicts the diversely arranged book-laden shelves of a number of Barrow’s colleagues and thereby touches on notions of minimalism, serialism, and portraiture.


In keeping with his exploration of the New Topographic photography practiced by contemporaries like Lewis Baltz and Bernd and Hilla Becher in the 1970s, Barrow alternated from the subject of urban spaces and open terrain to that of equally banal domestic interiors.  A lover of books, avid collector, and teacher, Barrow made personal libraries his focal point, photographing his like-minded colleagues’ collections with a strobe.  Originally intended as a series of straightforward minimalist images which investigated both the formal and cultural significance of book accumulations, these works are frequently read as portraits of the owners.  Private, idiosyncratic, and ever mutable, the Libraries provide striking clues about the interests and knowledge of the possessor.  At the same time, they address one of Barrow’s consistent themes, that photography —like libraries—can function as a means of cultural cataloguing and inventorying disparate information.


Thomas Barrow (b. 1938) has been featured in recent group exhibitions Site Reading at The Morgan Library, NYC and Longer Ways to Go at The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ.  His works is included in numerous public collections including The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Nelson Atkins Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art.  Barrow had a mid-career retrospective at LACMA and SFMoMA in 1986.

Derek Eller Gallery is located at 300 Broome Street between Eldridge Street and Forsyth Street. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday 11am to 6pm, and by appointment. For further information please contact the gallery at 212.206.6411 or visit