Beyond the World We Know: Abstraction in Photography

22 Nov 2019 – 6 Apr 2020

Event times

Monday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cost of entry

Adults $15.00
Seniors (ages 62 and above) $12.00
Children (ages 18 and under) Free
Students with valid I.D. Free
Museum Members Free
Active Military Personnel with valid I.D. Free
Acoustiguide Audio Tour $3.00 per unit/

Free for Members, museum colleagues, members of AAM and ICOM, members of the media and holders of the EBT card

Norton Simon Museum

California, United States


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In the 20th century, photographers faced a fundamental quandary.


On the one hand, their medium was esteemed precisely for its ability to record what the eye saw. On the other hand, photographers, like painters and sculptors, sought new approaches to advance their picture making. Abstraction as a nonrepresentational, visual language played a significant role in bending the conventional expectations of a medium unquestionably suited to describe people, places and objects. Beyond the World We Know: Abstraction in Photography presents the work of 16 artists who embraced a new goal for their practice: to loosen the grip of realism and demonstrate photography’s ability to suggest something other than itself, to serve as a conduit for visual metaphor and personal expression.

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