Vernacular photographs—those countless ordinary and utilitarian pictures made for souvenir postcards, government archives, police case files, pin-up posters, networking Web sites, and the pages of magazines, newspapers, or family albums—have been both the inspiration for and the antithesis of fine-art photography for over a century. In their struggle to gain legitimacy in the art world, fine-art photographers at the turn of the 20th century endeavored to distance their work from the amateur, commonplace, and practical photographs that had become so familiar in everyday experience.
This exhibition presents the work of artists who chose instead to strategically use photography’s everyday forms as a source of inspiration, consciously appropriating, reworking, and interrogating the aesthetics, content, and means of distribution associated with vernacular photography. Photographs by Walker Evans, Andy Warhol, Lee Friedlander, Cindy Sherman, Martin Parr, Nikki S. Lee, and others represented in the Art Institute’s permanent collection challenge us to reevaluate the impact, value, and status of the photographs we encounter in our daily lives. These images persuade us to consider the ways in which photographs function as significant bearers of complex meaning, rather than mere descriptions or reflections of the world, whether they grace the walls of a museum, the pages of a magazine, the files in a cabinet, or a living room mantel.
Please note: Some images may be inappropriate for younger visitors.
12 hours 58 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago On the move! Not to worry, La Grande Jatte will be on view again when Impressionism & Fashion opens June 26.
This beloved painting hasn't left the museum for over 50 years. Learn more on ARTicle—http://ow.ly/ma8dV
17 hours 32 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago This Thursday—Come to Unveiled in the Modern Wing! See the new exhibition Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door, then meet us for a drink and join in our in-gallery game for a chance to win tickets to upcoming events.
1 day 15 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago "If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?" and other questions with museum director Douglas Druick