Press Release

William Garnett: View from Above

CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Director of Communications
San Francisco International Airport


William Garnett: View from Above
New exhibition features abstracted aerial photographs by celebrated American artist William Garnett

SAN FRANCISCO - November 30, 2017 - In an era when most aerial photography was produced mechanically—a product of reconnaissance or cartography—William Garnett (1916-2006) pioneered the use of aerial photography as an art form.  Beginning in the late 1940s, Garnett made disorienting photographs that recall the abstract expressionist paintings of the day.  With a preference for flying at low altitudes and composing tightly cropped frames, Garnett produced images that were often stripped of context and lacking the visual stability of a horizon line.  Through his lens, the landscape emerged transformed - mineral deposits become kaleidoscopic fields of color; windswept dunes morph into humanlike figures; thermal geysers recall imagery of the cosmos.

During the course of his half-century career, Garnett worked with corporate clients and publishers including Time, Fortune, Smithsonian, and Life magazine, among others.  He was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship on three occasions (1953, 1956, 1975), and taught at UC Berkeley for sixteen years before retiring in 1984.  His photographs have been exhibited in over two hundred exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, and are held in major institutional collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

William Garnett: View from Above is located pre-security on the Departures Level of Boarding Area F in Terminal 3 of the San Francisco International Airport.  This exhibition is accessible to all airport visitors from December 07, 2017, to March 15, 2018.  The online version of this exhibition is viewable at:

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