COLLECTIONS > Exhibits > Capitol America

June 1 - August 28, 2021 Garden Reception June 5, 5-7pm Panel Discussion with George Miles July 14, 5-7pm CAPITOL AMERICA at Stanley-Whitman House features twenty-four photographs of state capitol buildings by veteran photographers Robert Lisak and David Ottenstein.


Reserve Your Spot for Opening Reception June 5, 2021 (free)
Reserve Your Spot for the Panel Discussion July 14, 2021 (donations)

Capitol America

Stanley-Whitman House announces the opening of Capitol America, an exhibit featuring photographs by Robert Lisak and David Ottenstein. The exhibit has been installed throughout the Stanley-Whitman House History Center which includes the Conklin History Gallery and the Lidgerwood Education Building's Spear Community Art Gallery and the Whitman Tavern. The public is invited to meet the photographers at a reception on Saturday, June 5, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. A panel discussion with the photographers on Wednesday, July 14, 5:00 - 7:00 pm will be moderated by George Miles, Curator, Yale Collection of Western Americana at Yale University.

Robert Lisak and David Ottenstein, who have a shared interest in photographing buildings and interior spaces, landscapes, and urban places, are collaborating to create a book of photographic work of the U.S. State Capitol buildings. In particular, these structures allow the possibility of exploring the history and nature of the continually evolving American experience. The nation’s state capitols contain grand spaces and out of the way corners, desks and podiums facing each other in legislative chambers, public galleries, governor’s offices and information desks – everything about them represents a collective civic effort. To the extent that the idea of governing ourselves matters, these buildings and that effort matter. These photographs present a way to look at the evolving political and historical meanings of, and to celebrate the beauty of, that monumental effort.

Robert Lisak (b. 1954) is a photographer based in New Haven, CT. He has done a wide range of work for commercial, architectural and non-profit clients, as well as pursuing several long-term art pro-jects, including religious festivals, art and architecture in the Peruvian Andes, a survey of State Capitol buildings, and an exploration of the urban social landscape, among others. Robert is a member of ASMP and has an MFA in photography from the Yale School of Art. He printed for the Walker Evans estate for 12 years, and taught photography at the college level for twenty years, where he designed and implemented courses in digital photography. His photographs are held in several private collections.

David Ottenstein (b. 1960) is a freelance commercial photographer based in New Haven, Connecticut. He grad-uated from Yale University in 1982 with a BA in American Studies and a concentration in photography. In addition to his commercial work, he pursues fine art/documentary photography, exploring interiors of abandoned buildings in the northeast, the vanishing agrarian landscape of the Midwest, and visu-al/cultural themes contained in the landscape of the American West. His work is collected by the Western Americana Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and is part of collections at Grinnell College in Iowa, the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of American Art in Kansas City, and the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State Uni-versity among others. David is a member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan, Connecticut. 

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Capitol America exhibit

Click on each photograph to see the complete image and information.

Robert Lisak, Honolulu, HI

David Ottenstein, Richmond, VA (interior)

David Ottenstein, Saint Paul, MN (exterior)

David Ottenstein, Indianapolis, IN

David Ottenstein, Columbus, OH

Robert Lisak, Oklahoma City, OK

David Ottenstein, Richmond, VA (exterior)

Robert Lisak, Hartford, CT

Robert Lisak, Topeka, KS

Robert Lisak, Honolulu, HI (interior)

Robert Lisak, Little Rock, AR

David Ottenstein, Saint Paul, MN (interior)

David Ottenstein, Trenton, NJ

David Ottenstein, Des Moines, IA

Robert Lisak, Juneau, AK

Robert Lisak, Lansing, MI

Robert Lisak, Albany, NY

Robert Lisak, Boston, MA

David Ottenstein, Madison, WI

David Ottenstein, Montgomery, AL

David Ottenstein, Salt Lake City, UT

David Ottenstein, Cheyenne, WY

Robert Lisak, Carson City, NV

Robert Lisak, Hartford, CT (Leg)