Please note: this exhibition contains mature content.
The first installment of the biennial Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series features the work of New York–based photographer Deana Lawson. For nearly a decade, Lawson has been investigating the visual expression of global black culture and how individuals claim their identities within it. Through their look and presence, the subjects of Lawson’s posed photographs channel broader ideas about personal and social histories, sexuality, status, and spiritual beliefs.
Lawson began her work in and around her Brooklyn neighborhood but has recently branched out nationally and internationally to places such as Louisiana, Haiti, Jamaica, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While her themes have remained consistent, her landscapes have shifted and broadened—the global scope of the pictures, in her words, “concern and affirm the sacred black body” and speak to a collective psychic memory of shared experiences.
Lawson begins her process by researching the communities she chooses for their cultural histories. Once on site, strangers she meets through chance encounters become her subjects, often following lengthy conversations and repeated visits. In recent years she has turned to a documentary style and has begun presenting found imagery as well, both moves that complicate how identity is projected and understood. While Lawson’s images have a strong sense of the present, they also engage in a dialogue with various cultural histories and carry implications for the future of black culture.
Sponsors The Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series is generously supported by the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation.
4 hours 53 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
23 hours 22 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago OCTOBER 28–29: Join us for a live performance with artist Kemang Wa Lehulere, marking the opening of his first American museum exhibition, In All My Wildest Dreams.
Six performances to choose from; free with museum admission.
1 day 3 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT 1893: The year the Art Institute opened its doors at 111 South Michigan Avenue. We’re still here 123 years later, and our mission remains the same: to represent “the world’s diverse artistic traditions for the inspiration and education of the public.” #tbtCMW #ChicagoMuseumWeek