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A Little Truth: Fact and Fiction in Family Photography

From March 20, 2024 to July 07, 2024
A Little Truth: Fact and Fiction in Family Photography
40 Arts Circle Dr
Evanston, IL 60208
When we have our picture taken, we often try to present our best selves. Even during difficult moments, we might force a smile, sit straighter, move closer together, cover the stain on our shirt. We might take pictures of things as we would like to remember them, present ourselves as we would like to be seen, even if—and especially when—there is significantly more to the story.

Drawing from The Block’s collection, this intimate exhibition weaves together personal snapshots and work by artists who have integrated family photography into their visual language. By incorporating family photographs into their artwork in various ways, these artists make visible some of the memories, realities, and complexities that might lie beneath the facades of family photography.

This exhibition asks us to deepen our own looking practices to better understand the role of photographs in familial memory: What is the relationship between what we see in a photograph and what we know or don’t know? How are memories shaped by what cannot be represented visually? And what is the relationship between private family photographs and broader cultural histories? In our digital age, where photo filters and editing are so prevalent, this exhibition provides a space to reflect on the power of what we cannot, and in some cases, do not want to see.
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Exhibitions Closing Soon

PHILLIP GUTMAN Invasion of the Pines
Daniel Cooney Fine Art | New York, NY
From June 06, 2024 to July 12, 2024
Daniel Cooney Fine Art celebrates Pride Month and the gallery’s 20th Anniversary with a debut solo exhibition by Phillip Gutman titled “Invasion of the Pines”. Gutman’s first monograph by the same title will also be released in June. The exhibition consists of 27 large-scale black and white and color photographs hand printed by the artist himself. The subjects are glorious drag queens who have made the annual July 4th pilgrimage to Fire Island Pines from Cherry Grove by boat, a ritual that originated as an act of protest on July 4th, 1976, the American Bicentennial. Fire Island is a narrow barrier island that runs parallel along New York’s Long Island. In the mid-20th century two communities, Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines, developed as Queer enclaves. People of all stripes came to the hamlets for the summer to live and socialize in a manner that would have been relegated to the closet mere miles away on the mainland. The ritual known as the Invasion of the Pines began one summer evening in 1976. A resident of Cherry Grove named Teri Warren was denied service at The Blue Whale restaurant, a Fire Island Pines establishment. Teri was denied service because they came to the restaurant dressed in drag. On July 4th, 1976, a group of Cherry Grove residents, dressed in drag, embarked by boat to protest this injustice by their sister community. Upon arrival in the Fire Island Pines Harbor, the invading queens gathered and Thom Hansen, known by their drag name Panzi, blessed the harbor and libations were served to the invading queens. This was the beginning of a tradition that exists still today, almost fifty years later. The Invasion is a vestige of our collective queer history, an intergenerational exchange between those who still remember July 4th, 1976, and those who come to the island now to witness and share in this passage, a ritual born out of resistance. Phillip Gutman moved to New York from Melbourne Florida to attend school in 2005 and graduated from ICP in 2009. A stark departure from his hometown, the first work he created was about the characters and mentors who shaped his point of view, and the muses he found in the queer spaces he frequented. Phillip’s work focuses on using photography and film to tell stories about identity, Queer history, and its rituals. His practice prioritizes a slower, more decisive, analog approach to the craft of photography. The risk and the ritual of making photographs is intrinsic to his work.  Daniel Cooney Fine Art opened in May 2004 at 511 West 25th Street in Chelsea with a mission to advance the visibility of emerging artists. Over time we have evolved to include many other groups of under recognized artists. We have proudly worked with numerous LGBTQ+ artists and estates, artists impacted by HIV/AIDS, women artists, political and activist artists, incarcerated artists and exhibited unknown work by highly visible artists. Our 20th year celebration serves as an opportunity to expand and amplify this important work.
Mark Morrisroe: Pre-Nympho Pia and Other Friends
Clamp | New York, NY
From May 30, 2024 to July 12, 2024
CLAMP is pleased to announce the gallery’s fifth solo exhibition of photographs by artist Mark Morrisroe (1959-1989). Pre-Nympho Pia is the name of the lead character played by Pia Howard in the Super-8 film titled “Nymph-O-Maniac” (1984). Mark Morrisroe’s longest and most ambitious film, “Nymph-O-Maniac” typifies the artist’s trash aesthetic likely influenced by filmmakers such as Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, and John Waters. Stuart Comer, Chief Curator of Media and Performance at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, writes: “The script seems almost entirely comprised of phrases culled from phone sex lines and porn dialogue, but the gender tables are turned [from the artist’s previous films] and women play most of the roles. In rooms whose walls are covered in gay male porn magazine clippings and record covers, vamped up girls gossip, come on to each other, apply lipstick, steal drugs, burn popcorn, and discuss their boyfriends’ penis sizes.” Mark Morrisroe cast his friends and lovers in all three of his Super 8 productions, and similarly used them as models for his highly experimental still photographs. The buxom Pia Howard is the subject of many of these images, including the print included in the exhibition shot on the set of the film. In “Nymph-O-Maniac,” there is a scene in which the camera focuses solely on Pia while she takes a bubble bath and sings about her sex life in a melodramatically breathy voice. Other recurring models in the artist’s photographs included in the exhibition include Jonathan “Jack” Pierson, Rafael Sánchez, Gail Thacker, Lynelle White, and Morrisroe himself. While Morrisroe’s work is often discussed in terms of identity and performance, the formal aspects of his work are equally significant, as he extensively explored the possibilities of analog image manipulation. For example, writer Fiona Johnstone explains the artist’s celebrated ‘sandwich’ technique—“a complex process that involved copying the colour negative onto black and white film, recopying, and cutting out the black and white negative before layering over the original colour one. The double negative ‘sandwich’ was then exposed to photographic paper, producing a single image. The result is typically a luscious, velvety textured print with an aura of otherworldiness.” Morrisroe would then often retouch fingerprints, scratches, and dust found throughout the ‘sandwich’ prints with paints of contrasting tones, highlighting technical imperfections. Born in Malden, Massachusetts, north of Boston, to a single mother, Morrisroe left home at an early age supporting himself as a hustler under the guise of Mark Dirt. He eventually enrolled in the prestigious School of the Museum of Fine Arts on scholarship, where he graduated in 1982. Morrisroe produced extraordinarily diverse work in Boston, moving to New York in the mid-1980s. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1989 at the age of 30. He is now remembered alongside a group of friends and subjects who attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts or the Massachusetts College of Art, and are commonly known as the Boston School, including David Armstrong, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Pat Hearn, Jack Pierson, and Gail Thacker. Morrisroe’s photographs are now represented in the permanent collections of many institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Art Institute of Chicago; Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; WestLicht Museum, Vienna; and The Hague Museum of Photography, Netherlands.
The Awe of the Arctic: A Visual History
New York Public Library | New York, NY
From March 15, 2024 to July 13, 2024
For centuries, what lies above the Arctic Circle has been a source of intrigue and fascination for those who live below its border. Stories from the ancient Greeks mixed with Norse mythology and reports from early voyages gave rise to lively and creative conceptions of ice-free waters and a fabled people who lived at the top of the world. Expeditions to the Arctic in search of resources and trade routes slowly replaced these legends with more accurate information. Yet even these narrative accounts were still filled with details of a foreign world that excited the imagination. Accompanying illustrations further enhanced the appeal of the polar North because they seemed to promise verisimilitude, giving shape to the incredible. Whether as woodcuts, engravings, lithographs, photographs, halftones, or digital prints, these images continue to captivate. They influence and inform our knowledge, bringing a distant region closer to those unfamiliar with its icy shores. This exhibition, drawn almost exclusively from the rich collections of The New York Public Library, is a large, multipart survey of how the Arctic has been visually depicted, defined, and imagined over the past 500 years, and invites us to consider how this history relates to our current understanding of the Arctic. The presentation ranges from 16th-century explorers who attempted to capture the perceived strangeness of a remote region to contemporary artists whose work conveys the human impact on its changing climate and vulnerable landscape. This exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Cronin, Robert B. Menschel Curator of Photography, and assisted by Maggie Mustard, Assistant Curator of Photography, in The New York Public Library's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.
Marilyn Stafford: A Life in Photography
Akron Art Museum | Akron, OH
From February 24, 2024 to July 14, 2024
Marilyn Stafford - A Life in Photography will open at the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, USA, in the Judith Bear Isroff Gallery and the Laura Ruth and Fred Bidwell Gallery on Saturday, February 24, 2024. The exhibition features decades of Stafford’s photography which will highlight the work, people, and issues she found most important. Marilyn Stafford was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1925 but spent most of her life in Europe. Stafford made a great income by photographing notable performers, models, writers, and celebrities which allowed her to devote time to her stronger interest in humanitarian work. She recorded the Algerian War of Independence in 1958, peacetime Lebanon in the 1960s, and India’s intervention in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Marilyn Stafford passed away in 2023 at the age of 97 and this exhibition marks a posthumous homecoming for her work to the USA where she was born. “The Akron Art Museum has a fondness for photographic work, especially work which showcases natural curiosity and intrigue.” Says Jon Fiume, Executive Director, and CEO of the Akron Art Museum. “Her work is more than excellent photography – it’s connective stories between the subject, Marilyn, and the viewer.” Photography was the driving force in Marilyn Stafford's incredible life, and it connected her with cultures and historical events across the world.” Says Dr. Jeff Katzin, Senior Curator at the Akron Art Museum. “I am truly excited that this exhibition will honor her boundless curiosity, her humanitarian compassion, and her pioneering role as a female photojournalist in the twentieth century and share all of this with the Akron Art Museum's audiences. On view in this exhibition is a picture Stafford took during the Algerian War of Independence. The picture showcases refugees in a camp near a bombed hospital. This picture ended up being her first front-page photograph in The Observer, which then sent an additional journalist to report on the situation. That photograph is a remarkable story from Stafford which we get to share with Akron. “What engages me most about Marilyn Stafford’s work is the extraordinary range of subjects she was able to capture, from celebrities to street photography, fashion, everyday life, and wartime photojournalism.” Says Wendy Earle, Curator at the Akron Art Museum, and co-curator of this exhibition. “Viewers who are interested in almost any facet of photography will find something to connect with in this exhibition.” This exhibition could not have happened without the support of Marilyn Stafford Photography, who is an archive for Stafford’s work and connects with Museums for exhibitions and events. “It is very moving, in the year after my mother's death, to see her work exhibited so close to her hometown.” Said Lina Clerke, daughter of Marilyn Stafford and Director of Marilyn Stafford Photography. “This exhibition will also bring me back to Cleveland, for the first time in 25 years. I can't wait to see her photographs on the museum walls, and to meet residents when I give a talk [at the Museum] in April.” “The exhibition is intended to be a reflective and engaging look at a period of 20th century history through Marilyn's unique gaze.” Said Nina Emett, the Photo Archive Manager, Curator and Director of Marilyn Stafford Photography. “We were able to let Marilyn know the good news [the Museum’s exhibition] before she died in early 2023. ‘Oh, how lovely, my work is going home,’ she said with a big smile on her face.” This exhibition will allow you to engage with several decades of the twentieth century with glimpses into the locals of Paris, London, Rome, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, and Bangladesh. This combination of children, passersby, pedestrians, and war refugees, with models, artists, celebrities, and politicians makes for a striking contrast. All the subjects are portrayed with respect and dignity, but each showcases a level of humanity that once again proves the major similarities we share as humanity.
Michael Kenna: Japan a Love Story
Peter Fetterman Gallery | Los Angeles, CA
From May 11, 2024 to July 20, 2024
“Japan has a long and rich tradition of reciprocal gift giving. I have been the grateful recipient of so much over so many years in Japan, and I know that I will never be able to give back in equal measure. I hope this work can be seen as a small token of my desire to do so. I also hope this work can be viewed as a homage to Japan and that it will serve to symbolize my immense ongoing appreciation and deep gratitude for this beautiful and mysterious country” ~ Michael Kenna Michael Kenna has been photographing around the world for over fifty years. His in-depth explorations and imagery of Japan since 1987 stand out as perhaps his most distinguished and well-known works. In his own words, “On my first visit to Japan, I was blown away by the aesthetics, the spiritual and religious aspects, the curiosity of the people, their friendliness and generosity,” he says. “Later, I went up to Northern Hokkaido in the middle of winter, and it looked to me like a stark sumi-e ink painting, a white canvas with Kanji characters marked on it. I’ve been in love with the place ever since.” An exceptional exhibition comprised of one hundred original silver gelatin prints, hand-crafted by Mr. Kenna, has been curated by Peter Fetterman. The exhibition will be presented by Nikkei, the Financial Times and Peter Fetterman Gallery in Tokyo, Los Angeles and London in 2024, celebrating half a century of work by the renowned British photographer, and his enduring relationship with Japan. The exhibition catalogue is designed by Hideyuki Taguchi and published by the distinguished Nazraeli Press, and a short film with unique footage of Mr. Kenna working in Japan will be presented by the French film-maker Richard Bonnet. Image: Running Fence, Biei, Hokkaido, Japan, 2007 © Michael Kenna
Anatomy of Devotion: Works by Günter Blum and George Platt Lynes
Fahey/Klein Gallery | Los Angeles, CA
From June 06, 2024 to July 20, 2024
The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the two-person exhibition Anatomy of Devotion: Works by George Platt Lynes and Günter Blum. The photographs on display explore varying relationships between artist and muse and the intimate and complex interactions that fuel creative expression. Both Platt Lynes and Blum utilize photography to investigate a more profound expression of sexuality and the concept of desire through their subjects. The erotic charge in each work is unmistakable. Admiration and yearning are not hinted at but expressly declared. Their cameras transformed into a conduit for narratives of empowerment and self-expression. Both artists convey raw vulnerability while unveiling great defiance of stereotypes and constraints. George Platt Lynes is recognized today as a master of 20th century photography, influencing artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Herb Ritts. Though Lynes was commercially successful in New York fashion and portrait photography, his art practice is largely characterized today by his remarkable photographs of nude men, from the 1930s until his death in 1955. Using inventive lighting, posing, and cropping techniques within his carefully staged studio settings, he was able to visually translate both the physical and psychological nuances of his subjects. Lynes attended the Berkshire School in Massachusetts and traveled to Paris for preparatory studies shortly after. In Paris, he met Réne Crevel, Man Ray, and Gertrude Stein, with whom he began a decade-long correspondence. Largely self-taught, Lynes eventually entered Yale University in 1926 and left after his first year to move to New York. Initially exploring writing and bookselling, Lynes soon found his aesthetic through the facility of the camera. His first informal portraits were done in the late 1920s, but evolved to official society photography, contributing to significant museum shows, high-profile fashion magazines, and solo exhibitions. Indeed, his glamorous portraits of literary, film, and art world personalities are indicative of his personal relationships. His friendship with New York art dealer Julien Levy led to his first exhibition in 1932. Eventually, Lynes' commercial success in portraiture and fashion photography enabled him to open his own New York studio in 1933. He later became the head of Vogue magazine's West Coast studio in Los Angeles in 1946, where he moved following several years of emotional upheaval in his personal life. There, he photographed celebrities such as Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russel, Gloria Swanson, and Orson Welles. Lynes returned to New York in 1948 and focused his photography practice on his private interests, male nudes, and documenting productions of the New York City Ballet. During this time, Lynes also became acquainted with Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an influential researcher on human sexuality who founded in 1947 the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, now known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. A substantial body of Lynes' nude and homoerotic photographic works were ultimately left to the Kinsey Institute after Lynes' death in 1955. Image: Günter Blum, Barbie, 1993
Irving Penn
De Young Museum | San Francisco, CA
From March 16, 2024 to July 21, 2024
Irving Penn is widely recognized as one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. Vogue’s longest-standing contributor, Penn revolutionized fashion photography in the postwar era. Using neutral backgrounds, he emphasized models’ personalities through their gestures and expressions. The exhibition includes approximately 175 photographs, spanning every period of Penn’s nearly 70-year career. The works range from early documentary scenes, celebrity portraits, and workers with the tools of their trades to abstract nudes and fashion studies. A special section of images from San Francisco’s Summer of Love features hippies, members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, and local rock bands the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Hương Ngô: Ungrafting
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center | Colorado Springs, CO
From March 01, 2024 to July 27, 2024
Time is crucial to Hương Ngô, who investigates the resonances of colonial histories in the present day. She explores various aspects of Vietnamese resistance to French colonialism through archival research, and activates the historical record via imagery, language, and material matter. For her first solo exhibition in Colorado, Ngô turns to a series of early twentieth-century photographs showing foreign trees and tree grafts planted in Vietnam by the French. For the artist, grafting—a procedure that involves cutting and splicing different species into a single plant—serves as a powerful metaphor for the physical violence inherent in colonialism. Ngô reproduces the archival photographs using the Van Dyke method, which was common at the time the original pictures were made, but alters the fixing process so that the new images will gradually deteriorate and darken. Accompanying the photographs are other new works by Ngô: altered reproductions of plants that were catalogued in 1919 for a French herbarium (a collection of systematically organized dried plants) and hanging fabric works with visible sutures that are treated with iron, copper, and other materials, many of which carry particular significance in the Southwest region of the United States. Like tree grafts, the tears in these works serve as a reminder of the violence of agricultural and mineral extraction; control of land, the artist proposes, is often accompanied by control over the land’s inhabitants. At the same time, the mends make visible the resistance and repair that may emerge in response to such violence. To expand on this idea, the artist will bring into the exhibition a selection of cultural heritage items from our Fine Arts Center’s permanent collection that further speak to the history of the region and its cultural intersections. Collectively, the works in the show offer a gesture of what the artist has termed “ungrafting”: a poetic decolonial methodology that weaves together networks of care across time.
Brian Taylor, The Art of Getting Lost
The Center for Photographic Art (CFPA) | Carmel, CA
From June 08, 2024 to July 28, 2024
The Center for Photographic Art is proud to present The Art of Getting Lost, an exhibition brimming with exciting ideas and photographic possibilities by Brian Taylor. Through decades of university teaching and workshops held coast to coast, Brian has long been highly regarded as an influential teacher and inspiring artist in the realm of alternative photographic processes. Join us for a broad overview of his creative explorations over 50 years, portraying his fascination with beautifully antiquated 19th century processes such as gum bichromate printing, cyanotypes and selectively toned silver prints, as well as handmade books, poetry, and mixing photography with drawing and painting. Brian aspires to create individual artworks which each contain a unique narrative— resulting in a gallery filled with stories. “My imagery is inspired by the surreal and poetic moments of living in our fast-paced, modern world. I'm fascinated by how daily life in the 21st Century presents us with incredible experiences in such regularity that we no longer differentiate between what is natural and what is colored with implausibility, humor, and irony. I savor the tactile pleasures of making art by hand and believe that certain works of art created by a human touch may contain a resonance of that touch: a discernible, lingering aura.”
A Long Arc: Photography and the American South since 1845
Addison Gallery of American Art | Andover, MA
From March 02, 2024 to July 31, 2024
The first major survey of Southern photography in 25 years, this exhibition, organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, examines the South’s place in the history of photography and reveals the region’s critical impact on the evolution of the medium. The South has occupied an uneasy place in the history of photography as both an example of regional exceptionalism and as the crucible from which American identity has been forged. As the first major survey of Southern photography in twenty-five years, this exhibition will examine that complicated history and reveal the South’s critical impact on the evolution of the medium, posing timely questions about American culture and character. Featuring many works from the High’s extensive collection along with important loans from private and public collections, A Long Arc will include photographs of the American Civil War, which transformed the practice of photography across the nation and established visual codes for articulating national identity and expressing collective trauma. Photographs from the 1930s–1950s, featuring many created for the Farm Security Administration, will demonstrate how that era defined a new kind of documentary aesthetic that dominated American photography for decades and included jarring and unsettling pictures that exposed economic and racial disparities. With works drawn from the High’s unparalleled collection of civil rights-era photography, the exhibition will show how photographs of the movement in the decade that followed galvanized the nation with raw depictions of violence and the struggle for justice. Contemporary photography featured in the exhibition will demonstrate how photographers working today continue to explore Southern history and themes to grasp American identity. A Long Arc: Photography and the American South since 1845 is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Generous support for the Addison’s presentation of the exhibition has been provided by the Francesca S. Woodman Exhibitions Fund. Image: Walker Evans, Allie Mae Burroughs, Wife of a Sharecropper, Hale County, Alabama, 1936, gelatin silver print, 9 5/8 x 7 7/8 inches, gift of Norman Selby (PA 1970) and Melissa G. Vail, 2020.31 © Walker Evans
Robert Frank and Todd Webb: Across America, 1955
Addison Gallery of American Art | Andover, MA
From February 10, 2024 to July 31, 2024
Organized by the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, this exhibition presents photographs that Robert Frank and Todd Webb created separately during their 1955 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships. Though the men had no knowledge of each other at the time, their strikingly similar images revealed popular cultural trends and shared ideologies that challenged the idealistic purity of the “American Roadtrip.” In 1955, two photographers received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation for U.S. survey projects: Robert Frank and Todd Webb. Frank’s cross-country trip by car would result in the celebrated book The Americans. Webb was awarded a grant to walk, boat, and bike across the United States to depict “vanishing Americana, and the way of life that is taking its place.” Though the men had no knowledge of each other during the application process, both secured a recommendation from famed photographer Walker Evans, and both completed their cross-country surveys—though in radically different ways. Frank’s resulting work became a landmark text in the history of photography, and Webb’s project remains almost entirely unknown. Robert Frank and Todd Webb: Across America, 1955 brings together both 1955 projects for the first time. In some instances, Frank’s and Webb’s images are strikingly similar—both men took photographs of the highway and dim, smoky barrooms. Because each was unaware of the other’s work, these similarities can be traced to popular cultural trends and shared ideologies. Both men, after all, engaged in projects that challenged the idealistic purity of the “American Roadtrip.” Radically different photographs made in the same location reveal the photographers’ diverse perspectives and approaches. Frank’s grainy, off-kilter style was matched with his harsh examination of the darker side of American life. An immigrant born in Switzerland, Frank (1924–2019) harnessed his outsider perspective. The tender, carefully composed images created by Detroit-born Webb (1905–2000) celebrated the individual oddities of the American way of life. Ultimately, comparing the work of these photographers reveals the complexity of their projects and the impossibility of capturing a singular vision of “America.” This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Addison’s presentation is generously supported by the Mollie Bennett Lupe and Garland M. Lasater Exhibition Fund. Image: Left: Robert Frank, Rodeo, New York City, 1955–56, gelatin silver print, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Jerry E. and Nanette Finger. © The June Leaf and Robert Frank Foundation; Right: Todd Webb, Cowboy, Lexington, NE, 1956, printed 2023, inkjet print, courtesy of Todd Webb Archive. © Todd Webb Archive
Stories of Humanity
The Photographic Resource Center (PRC) | Boston, MA
From June 21, 2024 to August 02, 2024
Exhibiting artists Gabo Azurdia, Roma Bartel, Jennifer Collins, Haley Cooper, Olive Cotton, Gisele Depina-Teixera, Margaret Furtado, Ty Gagliardone, Jason Higgins, Cat Nguyen, Izzy O’Hagan, Bella Olsen, Nick Ortoleva, Carlos Paronis, Autumn Porter, Michael Radford, Chloe Ronco, Ingrid Sampaio, Jordan Sanchez, Ben Spiewak, Cora Steffenson, Anna Sullivan Stories of Humanity is a collaborative exhibition between MassArt and Lesley University photography students, curated by MassArt Senior Ben Spiewak, and Lesley University Senior Anna Sullivan. The concept for Stories of Humanity began in November 2023 at the Boston Art Book Fair. Ben Spiewak was tabling with the MassArt Photography Department, promoting student work and their annual Photobook Auction, and by chance their table was situated next to the Photographic Resource Center table run by Jessica Burko. After the second day of the fair, Ben had envisioned a collaborative show that would bring both MassArt and Lesley University photography students together. He had noticed that for years, Boston photography schools have been very isolated from each other and he wanted to start an initiative to bring students together in a collaborative context. With the help of artist and photo professor, David Hilliard, Ben was connected with Anna Sullivan, a senior photography major at Lesley, and together they started planning a show. At the same time, Ben wanted to expand efforts to bring students together outside of the context of a show. In January 2024, Ben and Anna organized a small critique group with both schools hosted at MassArt, which helped bring the two groups together and become familiar with each other’s work. This collaboration displayed what current Boston photography students are interested in making work about, informing the idea behind Stories of Humanity. The exhibition continues the collaboration between schools by bringing together these two groups of photography students who have never before shared a gallery wall. The exhibition surveys the landscape of life in this present moment from the perspective of 25 emerging artists. The varying backgrounds and interests of this group creates a visual narrative about life as young adults in this current day and the many issues that are on the forefront of their minds. Stories of Humanity presents work of recently graduated seniors from the BFA photography programs at MassArt and Lesley University, putting them in dialogue with one another within the context of a contained photographic canon. This exhibition explores themes from a new generation of photographers, taking inspiration from a critique group between the two schools this past winter, Stories of Humanity seeks to take this collaboration further by putting them in the public sphere. Inspired by New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape (on view at SanFrancisco MoMA in 2010) the show also aims to serve as a marker in time in conversation with the past, present, and the future. Topics that have carried throughout time have found new visual language and newer, more contemporary additions are brought to light. Ultimately, the show’s goal is to present a snapshot of photographic time that can be viewed now, in this moment, as well as being reflected on in years to come.
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