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Panel Discussion: Sarah Charlesworth

September 17, 2014
Fullerton Hall; entry at Michigan Avenue only
Free; reservations recommended

Join artists Laurie Simmons, Sara VanDerBeek, and Liz Deschenes, and activist Kate Linker, as they discuss the groundbreaking work done by Conceptual and Pictures Generation artist Sarah Charlesworth to bring photography into the center of contemporary art. The event celebrates the opening of Sarah Charlesworth: Stills, opening September 18.

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Laurie Simmons is a key figure in the circle of New York artists, including Charlesworth, Cindy Sherman, and Louise Lawler, who made photography their exclusive means of expression in the late 1970s. Simmons’s staged color photographs of dolls and other human surrogates, playful yet anxiety-provoking, form a key point of departure for the address of advertising and gender identity in contemporary fine art.

Sara VanDerBeek works in sculpture and photography, creating installations that juxtapose freestanding constructions, framed photographs, and occasionally found objects in ways that that evoke antiquity and modernist abstraction. VanDerBeek included Charlesworth’s work in a group exhibition that she curated in 2008; she now teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where Charlesworth was a long-time member of the faculty.

Liz Deschenes uses her extensive knowledge of modernism and early photography to produce abstract images—most frequently photograms—that occupy a space in between photography and sculpture, the material present and the historical past. Deschenes cites Charlesworth as a major inspiration, and like Charlesworth, she attaches great importance to teaching as part of her career in art.

Kate Linker is an activist for women’s rights, gun violence prevention, health care reform, and the protection of workers’ rights. In the 1980s and 1990s, as an art critic, Linker wrote more than once on Charlesworth’s work, including an extensive essay in Artforum titled “Eluding Definition.”

Sarah Charlesworth. Unidentified Man, Unidentified Location, 1980, printed 2012, from the series Stills. Promised gift of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky. © Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy the Estate of Sarah Charlesworth and Maccarone.