Avant garde” and “early Tacoma” aren’t terms that we usually think of together, but the current show of the work of pioneering woman photographer Virna Haffer at the Tacoma Art Museum may help to change that. Haffer, who grew up in a free-thinking Utopian community just south of Tacoma, was at the same time a rule-breaking bohemian, a visionary artist, and a respected portrait photographer, whose clients represented the mainstream of Tacoma society. Her startling work is just now coming back into view after years of neglect, and KUOW's art critic, Gary Faigin, says it’s well worth the trip to TAM to see.
The work of photographer Virna Haffer is a revelation. Thirty-five years after her death, the strongest possible case has been made for her reconsideration as an important Northwest artist by a landmark exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum.