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Photography exhibition opens at Butler | News, Sports, Jobs

An exhibition of photographs by Mark Perrott opens Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art.

The Pittsburgh native has worked as a professional photographer for 40 years. In addition to his commercial work, which includes portraits and photographs for annual reports, Perrott has documented the citizens of Pittsburgh and its rich industrial landscape.

In the early 1980s he focused on the steel industry’s life-and-death struggle in the Monongahela Valley and published the book “Eliza: Remembering a Pittsburgh Steel Mill”. He released “Hope Abandoned” in 1999 after a four-year investigation of the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. “E Block”, published in 2005, documented the cells devoted to housing newly arrived prisoners at the Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh.

His most recent book is “Tattoo Witness”, which includes 140 black and white photographs and interviews with subjects about the experiences that led them to get their first tattoo.

For her Butler exhibit, “Billboards,” Perrott primarily documents half-painted billboards beginning in 1975 and ending in 1990 when “vinyl wraps” began to replace them.

According to Butler’s executive director, Louis A. Zona, “Mark Perrott is clearly a photographer’s photographer. His work reminds us that Alfred Stieglitz’s dream that the photographic imagination has the same power and prestige as painting on canvas has come true. His technical ability is extraordinary and his concepts unique and imaginative.

Perrott’s photographs are in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Butler Institute of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“Mark Perrott: Billboards” will be on display through January 22, 2023 at The Butler, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown. A reception with the artists will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on November 12. Free entry.

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