"IT’S GRATE - BUT IS IT ART?" by HERB SLODOUNIK
I first saw this photo on sfmoma's blog about a year ago, without information about the photographer or when it was taken. Today, after re-spotting it - again without credits - I thought I check the web if I can find any reliable information about this photograph, and voilà, here it is:
It was taken by Herb Slodounik, who worked as staff photographer for The Montana Standard where the photo was published in April 28, 1968. For everyone with a newspapers.com account: you can check it here.
The Montana Standard caption:
"GRATE," BUT IS IT ART? is an example of candid humor where the photographer does not intrude or control the situation. This picture was taken several years ago by staff photographer Herb Slodounik in the San Francisco Museum of Art Shot with a Rolleiflex 2. (+)
A few years earlier the photo was published on the famous ‘Miscellany’ back page of Life Magazine / Issue July 26, 1963 (I guess it was taken around that time).
In 1988 it was republished in the book LIFE SMILES BACK by Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., together with 231 more ‘Miscellany’ photos.
LIFE SMILES BACK caption:
"At the San Francisco Museum of Art, an abstract gets close scrutiny.” (+)
Herb Slodounik died in 2008 after suffering from cancer. You can find more information about his life here.