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Eastman’s strong sense of color and compositional rigor transport the viewer to the streets and interiors of Havana.

LINCOLN, NE.- Nineteen of Michael Eastman's enveloping color photographs of the majestic architecture of Havana are on view at Sheldon Museum of Art through July 29. Eastman’s strong sense of color and compositional rigor transport the viewer to the streets and interiors of a decaying urban landscape resonant with the stories and echoes of the city’s inhabitants and culture. 

Every artist, I think, finds a place that they respond to in a way that they don’t respond to in any other place,” Eastman explained in an interview with Vicki Goldberg in 2011. “And Cuba was that for me--the pathos, the sadness, the beauty, the architecture, the color.” 

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), Deco Stairwell, Havana. Digital chromogenic color print, 2010, 90 x 72 inchesCourtesy of the artist.

Shortly after graduation from college in 1969, Eastman borrowed a friend's camera and embraced the medium of photography for its immediacy of expression. Since 1982 he has worked exclusively in color, employing its richness to advance the narratives his images conjure. Eastman made all of the photographs in this exhibition on film using a 4 5 large-format camera on four different trips to Cuba between 1999 and 2010, sometimes revisiting the same spaces years apart. 

Michael Eastman was born in 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri, where he continues to live and work. His photographs are held in numerous private and public collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Saint Louis Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, International Center of Photography, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His images have appeared in Time, Life, Art in America, and the New York Times, and are the subject of the monographs Havana (2011), Vanishing America (2008), and Horses (2003).

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), Isabella's Two Chairs. Digital chromogenic color print, 1999, 90 × 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), #107 Havana. Digital chromogenic color print, 2010, 90 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), Abstract Wall. Digital chromogenic color print, 2000, 90 x 72 inche. Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), Mercedes Bedroom. Digital chromogenic color print, 2002, 90 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), Red Piano. Digital chromogenic color print, 2010, 90 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Eastman (born St. Louis, MO 1947), Three Fans. Digital chromogenic color print, 2000, 90 x 72 inches.Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Eastman's large-scale color photographs of Havana on view at the Sheldon Museum of Art explore the decline of the majestic architecture of Cuba's capital. Through Eastman's strong sense of color and elaborate compositional rigor, these images transport the viewer to the streets and interiors of a decaying urban landscape resonant with the stories and echoes of the city’s inhabitants and culture.