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A printed photograph of a smiling, light-skinned child framed in white, the dark blur of their finger on the lense, is set upon a base image of the same child seen from the back approaching a camera held by a light-skinned adult. A printed photograph of a smiling, light-skinned child framed in white, the dark blur of their finger on the lense, is set upon a base image of the same child seen from the back approaching a camera held by a light-skinned adult.

A Field Guide to Photography and Media

Exhibition

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The Art Institute of Chicago has been exhibiting photography since 1900 and collecting it since 1949.

During that time—indeed, since its invention in the 19th century—photography has evolved into a diverse and unruly set of creative practices, both responding to and initiating changes across the world.

This exhibition celebrates that remarkable history through the Art Institute’s collection and offers an occasion to think anew about the photography’s place in the museum and in the world. Divided into eight sections, the presentation features more than 150 works that cut across time, space, and genre.


Abelardo Morell

Themes explored include production and circulation; engagements with identity, politics, and truth; the varied material forms of photography and media; the connections among these disciplines and other art forms; and relationships among artist, subject, and viewer. Reclassifying works in these contexts, the exhibition offers a roadmap for exploring the global, multivocal, and ever-evolving field.

This display—curated by Elizabeth Siegel, curator, Photography and Media—accompanies the museum’s first-ever publication to survey our photography collection, The Art Institute of Chicago Field Guide to Photography and Media. Set to be published in spring of 2023, the catalogue features nearly 400 works organized around 75 keywords and 75 thought-provoking essays responding to those keywords, written by artists, scholars, and curators working in the field today.

Sponsors

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Black Dog Fund. Publication of The Art Institute of Chicago Field Guide to Photography and Media has been made possible through the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

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