In the Changing Galleries

Photographs Capture How Nashville Looked 30 Years Ago

An exhibition of 50 black-and-white images, as seen through the lens of photographer Hank DeVito, captures Nashville as it was more than three decades ago. The exhibition entitled, Places I Remember: Photographs of Nashville by Hank DeVito, will open on July 3 in the museum’s Changing Gallery and is free to the public.

DeVito attended New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts on a scholarship in the late 1960s. He moved to Nashville in the mid-1980s to become a part of the city’s thriving music industry.

“My photographs of Nashville are now 30 years old. They are images of places I remember seeing when I first moved to Middle Tennessee,” explained DeVito. “Back then, Nashville still felt like a small, southern town. The art student in me responded to the ‘mom and pop’ storefronts and the hand-painted advertising signs. But now, the art of sign painting is a lost art, replaced with neon and plastic.”

During his career, DeVito has had several exhibitions in Nashville art galleries. His work has been exhibited at the Hunter Museum, in Chattanooga, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and at the Memphis College of Art. His photographs are a part of many private collections as well as the collections held at Vanderbilt University and the Knoxville Museum of Art. He has also had exhibitions at several area galleries.

DeVito’s photographs have also been featured on many album cover designs for various recording artists, including Rosanne Cash’s “King’s Record Shop,” which won the Grammy Award for best album art in 1988.

“Capturing our state’s social history and our city’s vanishing neighborhoods is part of our museum’s mission,” said Lois Riggins-Ezzell, executive director of the State Museum. “Whether you lived in Nashville during this era and remember many of these places, or you are new to the city, DeVito’s images engage the viewer with a profound reflection into times and places that are rapidly disappearing.”

Gallery owner Anne Brown of The Arts Company explained, “Downtown Nashville in the 1960s and '70s suffered the effects of urban renewal — boarded-up and neglected old buildings abandoned in favor of the evolving era of shopping centers. Hank DeVito’s elegiac black-and-white photographic portraits of selected downtown buildings at that time show Nashville in the classic vintage style of Walker Evans’ photographs of the South in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. They rise above documentation. They are stark and true poetic visual icons of a time remembered, but long past.”

Places I Remember: Photographs of Nashville by Hank DeVito will be on view through October 4, 2015. 





tn4me

Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1120

FREE ADMISSION

Open: Tuesday - Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and four holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

(615) 741-2692
TOLL-FREE: 800-407-4324
museuminfo@tnmuseum.org

 

 

 





tn4me

Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1120

FREE ADMISSION

Open: Tuesday - Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and four holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

(615) 741-2692
TOLL-FREE: 800-407-4324
museuminfo@tnmuseum.org