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Norton Museum of Art trains its lens on visual pioneers

The birth of photography and the evolution of video come into focus this week at the Norton Museum of Art, which is hosting a pair of summer exhibitions before the West Palm Beach museum shuts down July 15 for a major renovation.

“William Henry Fox Talbot and the Birth of Photography” salutes the photography pioneer who invented camera-less “photogenic drawings” in the 1830s. The show probes Talbot’s process, along with his rivalry with Louis Daguerre, whose daguerreotypes became popular in the 1840s. Also on display is Talbot’s circa-1845 image “Lace,” created by laying a piece of lace on light-sensitized paper. Under direct sunlight, the negative image of the lace was transferred onto the paper, says Tim B. Wride, the Norton Museum’s photography curator.

Meanwhile, “Unexpected Narratives” showcases three experimental videos from the early 2000s. In “Disco,” a 2005 video from artist duo Muntean/Rosenblum, actors reinterpret the Romantic masterpiece painting “The Raft of the Medusa” from inside an abandoned discotheque. Also screening is Chris Doyle’s “Hotel Bernini I” and “Hotel Bernini II,” which brings a vacant hotel bedroom to life with stop-motion animation.

During the May 23 edition of the Norton’s Art After Dark series, Ballet Florida will perform a dance program inspired by the “Unexpected Narratives” videos. The program will also include a winetasting and talks on Henri Matisse’s iconic painting “The Dance.”

When: Thursday, May 17 through July 15 (Art After Dark: 5-9 p.m. May 23)

Where: Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach

­­­Cost: Free

Contact: 561-832-5196 or Norton.org

pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

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